A Fine Example for School Bus Seatbelts
The bill's other sponsors said each driving violation would come with an extra $15 fine. But Flook said that's wrong because the bill also includes non-moving violations, such as parking tickets.
Fines would raise $3.7 million dollars a year, but it would cost almost $100 million to equip Missouri's 11,000 school buses with belts. Flook said school districts would help pay for the difference.
"I think that they have enough that they could contribute and the state can supplement it," he explained.
Flook also said his plan phases in seatbelts, which might curb costs because broken bus seats would have to be replaced by seats with belts. But, the Missouri School Boards' Association says phasing in belts would cause legal problems.
"If a school bus happened to be in an accident where a child was injured, on a school bus that did not have seatbelts, when others did have seatbelts, that's just a lawsuit waiting to happen," said MSBA's Brent Ghan.
"Right now, you can be sued for not having a seatbelt on your bus," Flook responded. "And I think that a lot of the opposition on this have failed to recognize the fact that right now, today, they can be sued for failure to have a seatbelt on a bus."
The House Transportation Committee did not act on the bill at Thursday's hearing. If lawmakers pass it this session, Flook hopes to start the phase-in by January 2007.