RANDOLPH, NJ - The Randolph Board of Education will introduce three-point seat belts on all new bus purchases or leases in an effort to be proactive about safety throughout the district. After the Paramus school bus accident on May 18, the district revisited their own seat belt safety standards.
Currently, all the buses in Randolph have seatbelts, but the board found it would be less expensive to order the new buses with three-point belts instead of retrofitting old buses.
“We also go through and update our buses periodically as the state requires, they have to roll off after a certain age.” said Sheldon Epstein, chair of the Finance, Facilities and Transportation committee, “Rather than wait for the state, which is having conversations about what to do, we are instituting purchasing of three-point belts on all new buses. So we’re not going to wait and see what they’re going to do.”
This puts Randolph ahead of other districts in N.J. who might be waiting for a new requirement or regulation to move ahead with the purchases, Epstein explained.
“And despite what the state government may or may not do, we are acting in a proactive manner in doing what is best for the children in this community and the students in this district,” he added.
Adding the seatbelts to new orders of buses will cost less than $10,000 on each bus, Epstein reported. The district typically replaces four or five buses each year due to state regulations, whether through purchase or lease.
“Those buses will be used on high-capacity routes. Those buses will be used on long-distance field trips,” he continued. “In other words, we’ll maximize those buses.”
He also mentioned new regulations usually give a large window of time to implement the policies, putting Randolph further “ahead of the curve.”
“We’re not waiting to improve,” Epstein said. “We are ahead of a lot of districts where we are today, and we are not going to stay where we are."