School bus seatbelt law going in to effect in Iowa

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – In 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended lap-shoulder seat belts on all new school buses.

Now that recommendation is law in Iowa and it’s about to go into effect.

John Farley, an Iowa State Trooper and school bus inspector, explained the importance behind the new law.

“This is just supplementing that commitment to safety. The Department of Education is not saying that school buses are not safe,” said Farley.

The new law goes in to effect October 2 and will require all Iowa school districts have the seat belts on buses purchased after that date.

“Any of the buses in the school fleets now don’t have to be retrofitted. It’s only going to be for new purchases,” said Farley.

Michelle List, a parent, described how she feels about the new safety measure.

“Just the thought of a big old school bus with a bunch of kids in there that aren’t in a seat belt in there scares me. I mean, it’s no different than you having a Suburban full of kids and they’re not in seatbelts. It’s against the law. So, I think it’s for the best,” said List.

The new law also carries other safety additions that include handrails and a “stop” arm sign near the back of each school bus.

But parent Alexandria Hornof said the seatbelts and stop signs are just half of the solution if other drivers don’t do their part.

“I don’t really think it matters how big it is or where it is. I think it’s just, people need to pay attention. People need to care about the fact that there is a stop sign there and you have to listen to it,” said Hornof.

According to data, Nationwide, between 2006 and 2015 there were 301 school-age children killed in school bus crashes.

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