Tennessee school bus seat belt bill on hold

NASHVILLE (WATE) – A Knoxville lawmaker’s bill to put seat belts on school buses will have to wait.

State Rep. Joe Armstrong said he would take the seat belt issue to the state legislature after a deadly accident last year in Knox County. A teacher’s aide and two elementary school students died last December when one school bus collided with another.

Previous story: 2 children, 1 adult killed in East Knoxville crash involving 2 school buses

Armstrong ran into obstacles Wednesday in his attempt to turn the bill in to law. He said he wanted to wait to explain his bill when he has more than two minutes to do so.

Rep. Joe Armstrong
Rep. Joe Armstrong

This happened because House Transportation Subcommittee members had a lengthy agenda Wednesday afternoon.

Armstrong’s bill would require new and existing school buses in Tennessee to install seat belts, but he says he recently found out the proposal would cost $5 million each year it’s implemented, on top of transportation dollars from the state’s BEP formula.

Armstrong says he’s willing to fight to get this bill through.

“This is one issue that I found that people, no matter what economics or side of town, people are in agreeance that we want to protect our most precious resources, and those are our children,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong also says funding is the biggest obstacle this bill is facing and was also an issue in 2007 when a similar bill was filed. He’s hoping to secure grants through the National Highway Safety Program.

The bill will be brought up again next week.

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