Utah transportation officials always stress that the most important safety step motorists can take is to buckle up. But many school buses in the state lack seat belts.
So the House Transportation Committee voted 7-3 Thursday to advance HB132 to require seat belts in any new buses purchased for schools in the state. It now goes to the full House.
Lawmakers also say some fortunate timing might help school districts to afford the $10,000 or so in estimated higher costs for each such bus.
Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, sponsor of the bill, noted the state has $32 million coming through a settlement from Volkswagen for emissions violations — and the state is looking at spending $20 million or so of that settlement to replace older, dirty diesel school buses to improve air quality.