Providence, RI - Rep. Robert Nardolillo III (R-Dist. 28 Coventry) is calling for all school buses to be equipped with seatbelts following new recommendations from the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB).
On May 22, 2018, the NTSB released findings from an investigation into two bus accidents in November 2016 that claimed the lives of twelve and injured thirty-seven.
The recommendations include calling on the 42 states that do not require seatbelts on school buses to, “Enact legislation to require that all new large school buses be equipped with passenger lap/shoulder belts for all passenger-seating positions”
NTSB Board Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt hopes that states take the recommendation seriously stating, “I feel like we have always tiptoed around this issue of seatbelt usage and lap shoulder belts in school buses.”
Rep. Nardolillo is a longtime advocate for requiring seatbelts on school buses and praised the shift in policy stating, “I am very happy to hear that the NTSB has finally recommended that the 600,000 buses that carry students to school every day be equipped with seatbelts for each passenger. It is a fact that seatbelts save lives yet we have avoided installing them on school buses for decades. I hope that Rhode Island takes the NTSB recommendation seriously and work to adopt laws that protect students in the event of an accident.”
Recently, Rep. Nardolillo introduced legislation (2018-H-8067) which would require all school buses purchased or leased in Rhode Island be equipped with three point seatbelts by 2020. The bill was heard before the House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare on May 2, 2018, but has been held for further study.
Rep. Nardolillo hopes that the NTSBs recommendations will help bring the bill to the floor stating, “My legislation would accomplish exactly what the NTSB recommends and make Rhode Island school buses among the safest in the nation. I urge my fellow legislators to support this common sense measure that will keep children safe and help prevent future tragedies.”