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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown introduces new seat belt rules for school buses after deadly Ohio crash | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


CLEVELAND, Ohio – On the heels of a deadly Ohio bus crash, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is pursuing new regulations that would require seat belts on school buses nationwide.

Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, announced Friday that he and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduced the School Bus Safety Act. It would mandate the U.S. Department of Transportation issue new rules requiring seat belts and other safety improvements on all school buses, according to a Friday news release.

The requirements would include 3-point safety belts for each seat, automatic emergency braking systems aimed at preventing crashes, event data recorders, electronic stability control systems, fire suppression systems for engines, and firewalls that prohibit flames or gas from passing into the passenger compartments.

The new requirements reflect recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board, the release said.

The new legislation also calls for the creation of a grant program to help fund safety modifications to school buses already in operation.

“Parents shouldn’t have to worry about their child’s safety on a school bus, whether they’re traveling to school or a field trip or an away game,” Brown said in the release. “That means passing additional school bus safety measures into law, starting with our legislation to equip buses with seat belts and other safety measures. These are commonsense, long overdue steps to protect kids and make buses safer.”

Brown’s announcement comes about two weeks after a Clark County school bus carrying 52 students to their first day of class was hit by a minivan. One student, 11-year-old Aiden Clark, was thrown from the bus and died. Another 23 students were injured and taken to a nearby hospital.

Brown’s bill is supported by National Safety Council, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Center for Auto Safety and National Sheriffs’ Association.

“It’s important for all our kids to get to and from school in the safest way possible and as you know, we have seen the horrific aftermath of school bus incidents, like the one in Springfield, Ohio, up close and personal,” Jonathan Thompson, executive director of the National Sheriff’s Association, said in the release.

On the state level, Gov. Mike DeWine responded to the crash with the formation of the Ohio School Bus Safety Working Group. It’s charged with finding ways for the state to improve school bus safety – including the possibility of requiring seat belts on all public school buses.

The 15-member task force includes representatives from the State Highway Patrol, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, South Euclid-Lyndhurst School District, and the state departments of public safety, education, insurance and transportation, as well as an Ohio parent.

The group will hold the first of at least five public hearings this month and is expected to issue a report in December with its recommendations.

“There’s no doubt that this horrible tragedy that occurred last week makes us think about this some more and reexamine it and ask the question, which is the question everyone has been asking me the last week – is there anything else we can do to make our buses safer?” DeWine previously said. “That’s the right question, and we need to go find out what that answer is.”

In addition to school bus seat belts, the state report will include recommendations on topics such as driver training, alternative transportation, lessons learned from other school bus crashes, regulations and school bus design, maintenance and inspections.

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