Iowa board decides to require seat belts on school buses

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa State Board of Education has adopted new rules that would require lap-shoulder seat belts on all new buses bought by school districts and state-accredited nonpublic schools.

The administrative rules adopted Thursday are still subject to legislative review. Other safety equipment required would include one additional stop arm per bus, hand rails, exterior boarding lights and fire-resistant crash barriers between the front bus seats and the bus drivers.

Districts wouldn’t have to retrofit their current fleets. The rules would apply to new buses manufactured on or after Oct. 2, the date the new rules are scheduled to take effect. Iowa Education Department spokeswoman Staci Hupp says the new rules would apply equally to contracted service providers.

In 2018 the National Transportation Safety Board recommended lap-shoulder seat belts on all new school buses.

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