Cost no excuse for not fitting school bus seatbelts

A RECENT interstate tragedy involving a nine-year old student killed in a school bus crash has again highlighted the need for better safety standards on school buses.

In Victoria, school buses and public transport buses are exempt from compulsory seatbelt laws and it is time this changed.

Putting on a seatbelt is the first thing most Victorians do when getting into a car so it seems absurd that the vehicles which ferry the state’s children to and from school are not even required to have these life-saving devices fitted.

A report released in NSW last week recommended making them compulsory in all rural and regional school buses and Victoria’s lawmakers would be well advised to heed the same advice.

Road safety experts and community groups have been campaigning for these changes for years.

While the costs involved in retrofitting are often used to justify the current state of affairs, it is time to put the safety of our children front and centre in this debate.

Katalin Blond, state practice group leader, motor vehicle accidents, Slater & Gordon

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