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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
Attorney • (800) 770-7008

Should Seat Belts Be Mandatory On Minnesota School Buses

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Recently, I blogged about the recent incidents of Minnesota school bus accidents. While in each of those examples the children riders seem to be okay, there are enough recent cases around the country to up any concern that these local cases don’t provide. This is also close to the anniversary of the Cottonwood bus accident that killed four students last year. It may be time once again talk about whether seat belts should be mandatory on buses. While the economics will be a deterrent, we should find out the cost and how feasible the idea is before we just go ahead and continue to put our children at risk.

This Wednesday, in the K-12 House Finance committee, the Minnesota legislatures will be looking at HF no.331 which mandates seat belts on all school motor coach buses. Motor coach buses are defined as a bus:

that has an elevated passenger deck located over a baggage compartment, when the vehicle is used to transport pupils to or from a school, as defined in section 120A.22, or to or from school-related activities, by (1) the school or a school district, or (2) someone under an agreement with the school or a school district, including operation under charter carrier authority.

This change to the law would be to Minnesota Statute 169.447, subd 2A, which only says at this time that ordinary school buses "may" be equipped with seatbelts. Since this bill is being discussed, it might be the right time to also look at whether the mandate should go to all school buses. While seat belts won’t solve all accident issues it’s important that we look at all reasonable ways to protect our children.