Seatbelts on School Transport Bill passes final stage

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin

A Bill to make it compulsory for all dedicated school transport to be fitted with seatbelts has passed its final stage in the Scottish Parliament.

It comes more than a year after plans for the Seatbelts on School Transport (Scotland) Bill was announced by Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin.

The Bill received cross party support in the chamber on Thursday afternoon and will now begin its journey to Royal Assent.

Ms Martin is the first MSP in the 2016 intake to have a Bill passed.

It will ensure seat belts become a legal requirement on all dedicated home-to-school transport in Scotland and school trips.

Councils across Scotland provide dedicated school transport to pupils who live over certain distances from school in line with their statutory responsibilities and this is often in the form of buses or coaches.

There are currently already 24 local authorities in Scotland which have a seat belts provision in existing contracts including Aberdeenshire Council which will have risen to 27 by the end of the school year.

The completion of Stage Three of the Bill intends to make this good practice universal as a matter of law.

It will afford more pupils the well-established safety benefit which seat belts can bring in the event of a road accident.

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin said: “I am delighted the Bill has completed its final stage and will now make its way to Royal Assent.

“The journey to and from school should always be safe. As both a representative of a rural community and as a parent, I am all too aware of the importance the journey to and from school can play in those efforts.

“Over the past year, we’ve had an incredible response from individual parents, schools and other groups which have been extremely positive.

“I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and commitment in bringing the Bill forward.”