NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – State representatives began calling for seat belts in school buses after the tragedy in Chattanooga that left five young children dead.
Rep. JoAnne Favors (D-Chattanooga) announced Tuesday she plans to introduce legislation this January that requires seat belts in school buses.
Favors also said the entire community is in a state of shock. She went directly to the crash site after the accident happened and noted “it is difficult to put into words how heartbreaking the scene was.”
Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) echoed those sentiments, saying he has asked the legislative legal office to draft legislation requiring all school buses be equipped with seat belts in conjunction with Favors.
“The financial cost will pale in comparison to the potential to save lives. A basic responsibility of government is to help provide for the safety of it’s citizens, especially our children. I hope and believe that others in state and local government will join us in this effort,” McCormick said in a statement to News 2.
Adding seat belts to existing school buses is estimated to cost around $12,000 to $15,000 per vehicle.
The governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, also said it’s time to have a conversation about school bus safety, to bring all the parties to the table to discuss what can be done to make our school buses as safe as possible.
Last year, the Tennessee General Assembly considered a bill that would require seat belts on school buses, but it didn’t pass because advocates couldn’t prove they would actually save lives and because of the cost.