Members of a state House panel want more information on the potential costs of installing seatbelts on school buses before they proceed with proposed legislation that mandates them in South Carolina’s buses.
State Rep. Gary Clary, R-Clemson, filed legislation that would require buses to have seatbelts, starting in August. The Motor Vehicle Subcommittee of the Educaation and Public Works Committee took up the proposal Tuesday.
EPW Chair Rita Allison, R-Lyman, wants more information before moving forward. “Before I could really form a solid opinion on this I would need a little more research, the states that already require the three-point safety belt, how is that doable?” Allison told the panel.
Currently six other states mandate seat belts on school buses. However, South Carolina is the only state in the country that operates its own statewide fleet.
State Rep. Raye Felder, R-Fort Mill, also said she needs to know more on the subject. “I would like to see a fiscal impact for some future date forward on new buses that are equipped with at least a three-point seatbelt,” she explained during the meeting.
Clary said he understands the concerns on the expenses of new buses and retrofitting old ones. But he is pleased the ball is rolling on the issue. “We could start the conservation as to taking the necessary steps to ensure our children are safe when they are traveling in school buses,” Clary said at the end of the meeting.