Crash boy parents back seatbelt bid

The parents of a schoolboy who died in a bus crash welcomed moves this week to make sure every child has a seatbelt.

Stuart Cunningham-Jones, 12, died when his school bus left the road in December 2002.

His parents, David and Joanna, were at the Welsh Assembly this week to hear members discuss road safety. A motion asking the government to make school buses safer won cross-party support.

Plaid Cymru urged ministers to seek extra powers so councils are brought into line.

New powers en route to the Assembly next May could be used to ensure every child has a seatbelt, Criminal Records Bureau checks are done on all drivers and risk assessments of buses are published before school transport contracts are awarded.

Last year a review of school transport made 30 recommendations, including placing CCTV on buses and scrapping rules which see three children sit in a space designed for two.

Mr Cunningham-Jones, of Ystradowen, in the Vale of Glamorgan, said: "We want to see those recommendations put in place.

"Some of them have already been taken up by local authorities. Others, like seatbelts, cost money and so local authorities are reluctant to enforce them.

"That's where they need their arms twisting and where we need the Assembly's help."

Plaid AM Leanne Wood said: "There's far too much discretion available to local authorities when awarding school transport contracts.

"It's simply wrong that there's no uniform safety standard that they have to conform to."

The Assembly government said it had reduced the number of children killed or hurt on the road.

It was on course to meet its 2010 target of cutting the number of road deaths and serious injuries by 40 per cent, deputy enterprise minister Tamsin Dunwoody said.

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