New Jersey lawmaker introduces bill to improve school bus safety

FAIR LAWN, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey lawmaker has unveiled a new proposal aimed at protecting children on school buses.

The plan was prompted by the bus crash that killed a teacher and student on Route 80 in Mount Olive two weeks ago.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer introduced a bill that would ramp up school bus safety across the nation.

The measure would require that all school buses have three-point lap-and-shoulder seat belts, which are standard in cars.

Gottheimer said studies have shown they are 50 percent better at saving lives.

"Last year the GAO found that from 2000 to 2014 there were an average of 115 fatal crashes involving school buses each year," he said.. "There were 301 children killed in school bus crashes between 2006 and 2015. We know that seat belts save lives, and we know three point belts are far more effective than lap belts."

The bill also encourages innovative measures to ensure that students are actually wearing their seat belts while on school buses.

Gottheimer said he would ask federal and state agencies to make sure school bus drivers are qualified and updated on their training.

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