School buses seat belt study

The subject of seat belts on school buses is under examination again
The subject of seat belts on school buses is under examination again

Costs and checks are being made by Fife Council on the feasibility of having its entire primary school bus fleet fitted with seat belts.

At present, some of the contracted vehicles taking the Kingdom’s children to and from school are not equipped with seat belts, which has concerned many parents.

However, the authority is at present asking all bus companies how much it would cost to refit their vehicles.

The parent council at St Paul’s Primary School has raised its worries over children’s safety with the Council.

Parent council chairman, Karen van Zon, said:“It is encouraging to hear they are taking our concerns into consideration and they have taken steps to find out costings and feasibility of enforcing seat belt provision.”

If the prices were very high, it was hoped a compromise on cost might be considered, such as putting seat belts on buses which regularly used roads with 40mph or 60mph speed limits, said Mrs van Zon.

She added: “There is so much about the buses that is positive and Fife Council does go beyond the call of duty.”

The Council had stressed it was operating within the law and parents understood there may be financial pressures, and differing circumstnaces, but hoped pupil safety would prevail.

Gary Moyes, lead professional for bus network planning and information, said: “Fife Council and all its contractors comply with current legislation on the provision of seat belts in buses and coaches. Simply put, this means minibuses and coaches must have seatbelts.

“Additionally, if buses are used on ‘closed contracts’ – journeys not open to fare payers, such as school trips – then seatbelts must also be provided.

“All Fife school buses making journeys to and from school which have more than 16 seats are registered as local bus services, so this means they are no different to any other bus service running in Fife and, under the legislation, don’t require seat belts to be provided.”