Carlucci’s Column: Keeping Children Safe On The School Bus

BY SENATOR DAVID CARLUCCI

It is back to school time, and our children’s safety is a top priority. School buses are very safe, but what happens if there is a rollover crash like the one in Morristown, New Jersey in May that left 2 dead and 43 injured?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said in these types of crashes, lap/shoulder seat belts protect our children better than just a lap belt, which is currently all our state requires.

With cameras now on many of our buses, the NTSB has studied the crash footage and extensively investigated deadly bus crashes. The experts are now recommending for the first time that New York update our school buses to be outfitted with 3-point seat belts that go across the shoulder and over the lap.

This is why I am sponsoring and fighting to pass legislation to make 3-point seat belts on all school buses standard. Many will say school buses are safe enough, but while we cannot prevent human error, we can ensure our school buses meet the top safety standards. If we can make them safer, why wouldn’t we?

My legislation also goes a step further, making it the law that students actually wear their seat belts. Seat belts are useless if children are not wearing them, and currently this enforcement is entirely left up to individual school districts. We must have one policy in place and do more to teach our children about the importance of always buckling up.

I implore my fellow lawmakers in Albany to support this legislation and keep our children safe.