Bill would require seat belts, cameras on school buses - - Jackson, MS

Bill would require seat belts, cameras on school buses

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Lori Key has had enough of motorists illegally passing school buses.

"In the state of Mississippi it happens a minimum of 3,000 times a day," she says.

Key knows the tally, because she and her husband Andy lost their 5-year-old son Nathan by a passing vehicle as he stepped off a school bus in Jones County in 2009.

The Keys pushed for Nathan's Law until it passed in 2011. It stiffens the fines for passing school buses. They're now a voice behind House Bill 469, which would require cameras and seat belts on school buses in this state.

"The seat belt part of this bill is a safety measure that I believe children in the state of Mississippi deserve, as well as the cameras," she said.

The bill, authored by Democratic Representative Tom Miles of Scott County, would require all new buses to have exterior cameras to catch those who pass school buses. It would require seat belts on new school buses as well.

Buses currently in use would not have to be retrofitted. Rep. Miles says the argument that seat belts would prevent the quick evacuation of a bus, doesn't hold water.

"They're a press-button seat belt, they release real easy," said Miles. "You could ask the question, what if a school bus turns upside down and the kid goes bouncing all over? This would hold them in their place, just like the safety on cars."

The bill is currently in the House Education Committee. It's one of three House bills addressing cameras or seat belts on school buses this legislative session. The others are HB 187 and HB 746. 

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