Haslam: I’ll be thinking about school bus seat belts for a year or so

While he didn’t support mandatory school seat belt legislation this year, Gov. Bill Haslam says he’ll be thinking about doing so maybe next year, reports the Times Free Press.

Failing in the 2017 legislative session was a bill by Rep. JoAnn Favors, D-Chattanooga, to require that new buses put into service starting in 2919. Approved was a measure backed by the governor that calls for more training of school bus drivers and sets some new standards for the job.

“We’re going to continue to do work to say, ‘Are they the right answer today?'” the governor said last week to reporters. “And if they are, then we’ll figure out the financial piece. But as you know, there’s quite a bit of disagreement about whether seat belts were the right thing to do just from a safety standpoint.”

Haslam said the administration will study what other states have done on the issue.

Favors, a Chattanooga Democrat, said she’s “very pleased that the governor is still expressing interest.”

…Haslam successfully pushed his bill, the product of a joint examination by the state’s departments of Safety and Education he ordered after the Nov. 21 crash of a Woodmore Elementary School bus in Chattanooga.

Six children died and some two dozen others were injured in the crash. Parents and teachers had complained about bus driver Johnthony Walker, 24, who worked for the Hamilton County Department of Education’s private contractor, Durham School Services.

Walker is awaiting trial on six counts of vehicular homicide, four counts of reckless aggravated assault and one count each of reckless driving, reckless endangerment and use of a portable electronic device by a school bus driver.

The driver, Durham and the county school system also face multiple civil lawsuits from families of children killed or injured.

One Response to Haslam: I’ll be thinking about school bus seat belts for a year or so

  • Michael Lottman says:

    Requiring seat belts for school buses? The governor will be “thinking about doing so maybe next year.” Or not. One thing’s for sure–this man is all about leadership.

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