New federal safety requirements added for new school buses - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New federal safety requirements added for new school buses

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

October 16, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

New federal rules from the Department of Transportation will require more safety features on new school buses.

All new school buses will be required to have higher seat backs, and lap and shoulder belts will be mandated for small school buses, and new safety standards will be set for seat belts on large school buses.

The Department of Transportation will require all new buses be equipped with 24 inch seat backs, instead of the 20 inch seat backs required today. School buses that weigh less than five tons will have lap and shoulder belts. Large buses will have new standards for seat belts, but will not be required to install them.

Dougherty County's transportation director says they will welcome the new safety improvements.

Dougherty County Transportation Director Kenneth Williams said "Defintely. Anything that's going to help the safety of the kids and the transportation of the kids to their destination is alway a benefit."

The new safety features are required on new school buses within three years. School systems are not required by the U.S. Department of Transporation to retro-fit their current fleet.

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