Kids may have to buckle up on school buses soon enough - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Kids may have to buckle up on school buses soon enough

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

A new bill aims to mandate seat belts for new school buses and improve the safety of existing school buses.

Illinois Senator, Tammy Duckworth, and Representative, Steve Cohen, introduced a bill proposal to implement seat belts in school buses for student safety.

In a statement, Duckworth said she thinks this bill will help prevent school bus crashes; some of which have already made national headlines.

In addition to seat belts, the bill would upgrade safety equipment such as automatic emergency braking.

Locally, moms are giving this a thumbs up. One concerned parent, Emma Rogers, gave her opinion of the new bill.

"It's a great idea to have seat belts on the school buses just to keep our kids safe when they are going to and from school," said Rogers.

The Director of Transportation with Peoria Public Schools, Josh Collins, informed us how crucial school buses are to the community.

"We want them [students] to be as safe as possible, but remember that school buses are the safest form of transportation out there for students," said Collins.

According to Collins, this topic has come up to legislation before.

Collins said buckling up could also add to the commute time. Parents however are not satisfied with his claims.

"Just like when they [seat belts] are in cars they need them, so I don't see why buses would not have them," said Rogers.

Collins reported that even the smallest addition to the buses can cause problems on the bus. “There is always potential for disruption whenever you add additional equipment to the equation,” said Collins.

The bill would also create a grant program to help school districts modify existing buses to make them safer but districts would have to dig in their pocket books too.

The Director of Transportation said he is neither for or against the bill, at this point, but he does hope that lawmakers will consider all the possible results in a proposal like this.

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