6 Jul 2012

Government seeks advice on compulsory bus seat belts

9:56 am on 6 July 2012

The Government is to take advice on whether compulsory seat belts on buses would make travel safer.

Truck driver Joe Morehu, 42, was on Wednesday sentenced to five months community detention for crashing his logging truck into a school bus near Ruatoki last September.

Sixteen students suffered serious or moderate injuries.

At the time of the crash, the then Transport Minister Steven Joyce said he favoured making seat belts on buses compulsory but would wait until the cause of the crash was known.

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges says he wants to get advice on whether seat belts would make bus travel safer.

Mr Bridges says buses are bigger and heavier than other vehicles and that means they're much safer.

"To give you a sense of this, the last fatality on a bus was 14 years ago."

Mr Bridges says there are practical difficulties in make seat belts compulsory, such as that they cannot be fixed to some older buses.

He says retrofitting seat belts to all buses would cost about $82 million dollars.

The father of a pupil injured in September's crash, Simon Waaka, says seat belts helped children at the front, but those at the back would have been crushed if they had not been flung out of their seats when the truck hit.