AUSTIN, Texas – Senate Bill 693, which would require all new school buses purchased by a district to be equipped with three-point seat belts, was voted out of the Senate on Wednesday. It is now headed to the House where Representative Phelan is carrying the companion.

The bill by Senator Sylvia Garcia of Houston defines new buses as ones model year 2017 or newer, and applies to a school activity bus, multifunction school activity bus, or school-chartered bus. Multiple school bus accidents in Texas have led to fatalities and caused injuries that could have been prevented if these buses were equipped with three-point seat belts.

The current technology is 30 years old, but school buses remain the same. Three-point seat belt technology is now mandatory on all motor coaches nationwide and costs for the technology have also declined. It is now the stated policy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that “every child on every school bus should have a three-point seat belt…School buses should have seat belts. Period.”

Quote attributable to Senator Garcia:

“It’s encouraging to have the overwhelming support of my colleagues in this effort to protect Texas schoolchildren. With the support of Transportation Chairman Nichols and many Republicans and Democrats, we’ve truly come together to make our kids’ safety a top priority. New buses equipped with seat belts will save lives. We can’t wait any longer.”

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