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New Texas Law Requires All School Buses to Have Seat Belts

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From now on, when Texas districts acquire new school buses, they must be equipped with three-point seat belts. Chron.com explains that older buses will not need to be modified to reflect the new rule, and districts have the option of voting to opt out of the law if their budget makes it impossible to provide the belts. Also, if students are riding in a bus with the belts, they must put them on.

“This bill is so different because it says, ‘You need to do it.’ We’re not asking you to spend additional dollars. If you used to buy 10 buses without seat belts … we would rather you spend the same dollars, but buy eight,” Senate bill 693 author Sylvia Garcia told the news. Garcia mournfully knows the importance of these seat belts after two students in her district passed away from a bus crash in 2015. The bus had seat belts installed, but the students were not wearing them.

The Texas Tribune writes that after the accident mentioned above and another deadly bus accident in Beaumont, both districts opted to make their own seat belt rules, but the rules were never spread throughout the state until now. Though it will be difficult to convince a bus full of children to buckle up, lawmakers feel that it’s for the best to ensure everyone’s safety.