Bus firm director backs Seatbelts Bill

Gillian Martin MSP says protecting our children on their way to and from school is not a luxury but a necessity.
Gillian Martin MSP says protecting our children on their way to and from school is not a luxury but a necessity.

The director of a North East bus company has backed a bill by Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin currently making its way through parliament.

David Campbell, a director at Whytes said in a letter to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf and Ms Martin, he was concerned after comments were made by Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles that no legislation on seatbelts on all school transport was required.

Politicians at Holyrood are continuing to hear evidence on the bill, which would require for all local authorities to put seatbelts on all home to school transport.

On Tuesday, the Stage 1 debate was held at Holyrood on the Seat Belts on School Transport (Scotland) Bill.

A number of councils already have seatbelts on transport provided for youngsters but the bill would ensure this was put into law.

In his letter, Mr Campbell said: “I would like to thank Ms Martin for bringing the Bill to the Scottish Parliament, as I feel that it will significantly reduce the risk of injury, should any school bus be involved in an accident.

“However as a coach operator, it troubled me to hear Mike Rumbles suggest that, with the contractual position of most councils, perhaps the legislation isn’t required. I feel that, for many reason, the legislation should be completed and added to statute. Giving the councils’ the opportunity to remove the requirement for seat belts in the future, must be at the very least undesirable.”

Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin said: “Protecting our children on their way to and from school is not a luxury but a necessity.

“I was shocked Mike Rumbles could be so ambivalent towards the safety of our children with his comments. I am both relieved and pleased that his words have been met with no support – particularly from a leading coach operators such as Whytes.

“Many people are not even aware seatbelts on school buses have not previously been a legal requirement.

“By moving this bill through parliament it will ensure a safer journey for our children on the way to school.”