NE Fife Liberal Democrat councillors have expressed disappointment that the recently announced proposal for school buses to be fitted with seat-belts from 2018 will not in fact apply to most of the vehicles used in the area.
Group Leader Cllr Tim Brett explained, ‘Of course we welcome any extension of safety measures to our school transport. However the new rules will only apply to dedicated school buses, i.e. those which are only used to take pupils to and from schools. Most buses used for that purpose in NE Fife, including the 56 transporting secondary pupils, are used as ordinary service buses during the rest of the day, and so will not be covered by this legislation.’
Cllr Brett noted that some buses used for school transport do have seatbelts. ‘However, monitoring shows that only 10-20% of pupils actually use the belts provided, which is very disappointing.’
He concluded, ‘Because of the rural nature of NE Fife, the provision or otherwise of seatbelts is very relevant. To make a real improvement to the safety of pupils, resources would have to be provided to purchase dedicated vehicles, or make it a condition that all buses contracted to carry pupils must have belts fitted and that these should be used.’