The new state legislative session begins in less than two weeks and one proposed bill is equipping South Carolina’s school buses with seatbelts.
State Rep. Gary Clary, R-Pickens, is sponsor of the bill. He told South Carolina Radio Network that the legislation was researched before he prefiled it. “I had our staff on the House Education and Public Works Committee to look into it and start the ball rolling in trying to see what it would take for us to actually file this bill,” Clary said.
“It is my belief that we need to fully investigate why we don’t have seat belts on our school buses. That was the genesis of this bill,” said Clary.
He acknowledges that if the bill passes it will be expensive to equip existing buses with seat belts. “It requires all of them to be retrofitted, but I think more realistically the idea would be that we would have seat belts on new buses that we buy because I think to try and retrofit all of our buses would be a huge undertaking,” Clary said. “I think that price tag would be shocking to everyone.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) only six states require seat belts on school buses, California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas.
If the bill does pass seat belts in South Carolina school buses would start with the 2018/2019 school year.