Gov. Matt Blunt of Missouri has pledged to work for state legislation that would require lap-shoulder seat belts in all newly purchased school buses.
His position, which he said he would advocate to the legislature next year, goes a step beyond the recent recommendations by a state task force that encouraged school districts to consider replacing buses with ones that have factory-installed lap-shoulder belts.
“Adding seat belts are a needed step to protect over 500,000 children who depend on Missouri school bus transportation every day,” Gov. Blunt, a Republican, said in a prepared statement issued Sept. 1.
With such legislation, Missouri would become the fifth state to require seat belts in school buses, said Michael J. Martin, the executive director of the Albany, N.Y.-based National Association for Pupil Transportation.
New York requires the use of lap seat belts. New Jersey requires that buses have lap seat belts, but does not mandate their use. California and Florida have not enforced their mandatory seat belt laws.
A version of this article appeared in the September 14, 2005 edition of Education Week