Scotland

MSPs back legislation for seatbelts on school buses

Seatbelt Image copyright State Farm

MSPs have backed legislation to make it compulsory to have seat belts on school buses.

Gillian Martin's backbench bill to make it a legal requirement for seat belts to be fitted on all dedicated home-to-school transport will now face further committee scrutiny.

There have been calls for the bill to be extended to cover buses used for school trips.

It is currently up to local authorities to demand seatbelts on school buses.

Just over half of Scotland's councils have it as a requirement within school transport contracts.

Rural economy committee convener and Tory MSP Edward Mountain said the committee was surprised the bill only covered home-to-school journeys and omitted school excursions.

Labour MSP Neil Bibby says the bill did not require that seatbelts were worn.

He said 74% of pupils at a school he visited said they were unlikely to wear, or would not wear, seat belts.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said that requiring the fitting of seat belts in school buses was something the Scottish Parliament could now legislate for, but the law to enforce wearing those seat belts lay elsewhere.

Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles said he was "astonished" that this was not already a law and that all 32 local authorities had not yet stipulated this in their contracts.

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