State delegate wants to make seat belts a mandatory requirement for school buses

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — State Delegate Paul Krizek plans to introduce legislation that would require school buses in the state to have seat belts.

Krizek said the fatal school bus wreck in Chattanooga, Tennessee in November prompted him to push House Bill Number 1561.

“Had they been wearing seat belts, they would have lived. But I have a daughter in high school and she rides the bus every day, and I know my wife and I, we’re worried about the safety. And I heard from constituents as well, some of my constituents won’t let their kids on the bus because there are no seat belts.”

The Thursday morning school bus accident in Dinwiddie County that involved 32 children is a more timely reason why the state delegate wants seat belts on school buses to be a mandatory requirement.

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“It’s really the side impacts and the rollovers where seat belts will save you,” he said. “If you could imagine, if you have a big bus and it gets hit and it rolls over like the one in Dinwiddie, think about that. You’ve got those kids on the left side, if it goes this way and rolls to the right, you’ve got kids flying through the air smashing into the kids on the right side. It’s amazing you don’t have more serious injuries.”

Krizek said people who oppose his bill worry about the costs. The delegate, however, said he is not asking school districts to retrofit all buses at once, just the new ones purchased 10 or more years from now.

“f you think about it, my bill is a very generous bill,” Krizek argued. “We’re not talking about retrofitting all of the buses, spending a lot of money, but as a new bus comes on line, whenever those buses come on line, let’s put seat belts in them, and it doesn’t cost as much because it’s done by the manufacturer.”

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Krizek plans to introduce the bill next week. He is also introducing a bill that would require people who are 18 years and older to wear seat belts in the back seats of vehicles.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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