Bill of the Week: Click It, Kids
Who here wants to argue about the positive effects of seat belts?
HB 1188, Rep. Dade Phelan, R–Beaumont
Seat belts save lives. That's a simple fact, backed by decades of research, and it's nonsensical that they are not standard on school buses. Not only would students be safer in cases of accident, but research also shows that seat belts cut down on disciplinary issues and on-bus bullying.
Texas already has a school bus seat belt law: In 2007, lawmakers passed HB 323, known as Ashley and Alicia's Law, establishing a grant program for districts to add three-point seat belts on all new buses. Rep. Phelan's new bill simply works from the principle that, after a decade of HB 323, and with such safety features now required on commercial buses, it's time for districts to make this standard. It heads to the House Transportation Committee this Thursday, April 27; in a positive sign, its Senate companion, Senate Bill 693 by Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, passed out of the Senate on Wednesday.
Movement on Phelan's bill has brought out the anti-seat belt brigade, which argues that seat belts won't save all lives in all crashes. While not quite on par with the anti-vaxxers who claim that the MMR vaccination causes autism (spoiler alert: it doesn't), their complaint is akin to saying you wasted your time getting inoculated for measles when you still came down with malaria.