Passengers were using seat belts in I-65 bus crash

May 20, 2013 John Bartlett

For immediate release:
May 20, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. John Bartlett (D-Indianapolis) today noted that the students riding in a school bus that rolled over in a crash on I-65 last week may owe their lives to the fact that they were reportedly wearing seat belts at the time.

Bartlett authored and introduced legislation (House Bill 1403) during the 2013 session of the Indiana State Legislature that would eventually lead to the use of seat belts on school buses statewide. His bill did not receive a hearing in the Indiana House of Representatives and his proposal died with the end of the legislative session on April 27.

Bartlett’s fight for school bus safety was spurred by an incident in Indianapolis last year in which a bus driver suffered a heart attack, causing a wreck and the death of 5-year-old student Donasty Smith. Another 10 students were injured in the accident, and the bus was not equipped with seat belts for all passengers.

“I was told that my bill probably would not get a hearing because of the cost to implement it, but when we in the great state of Indiana think that it is more important to save dollars and cents than to protect our babies, we are in a very sad state,” Bartlett said.