CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Next month, state lawmakers will head back to Nashville for the start of the legislative session.
One of the big topics expected to be talked about is putting seat belts on new school buses following the deadly Woodmore crash.
The bill was previously pulled.
Over the summer, State Representative JoAnne Favors (D-Chattanooga) went to a seat belt safety summit in Westfield, Indiana. There she saw what happens when a school bus experiences a side impact crash and the difference seat belts could make.
The demonstration involved a semi-truck hitting the side of a school bus. Some crash dummies were buckled and others were not, forcing one to be thrown out the window.
"I started reliving what happened that day, November 21st," State Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga said. "I started thinking about that. When you try to imagine things that you don't really know, thinking about what was going through those children's minds, how frightened they probably were."
IMMI is the company that conducted the demo and is a large provider of school bus seat belts.
"I came away with a sense of urgency that we don't need to delay this," State Rep. Favors said.
Favors plans to reintroduce her bill for the upcoming legislative session. It would put seat belts on new school buses after July of 2019.
She's been working with Tom Lee of Civic Point, which is a lobbying group, and nearly two dozen other state lawmakers to get the proposal passed.
"There is something in these very serious side impact, rollover crashes that is not met by merely the design of the school bus and compartmentalization," Lee said.
The idea has its critics. Some reference extreme situations like a school bus catching fire or going underwater as reasons why seat belts should stay off of buses.
Cost has been the other concern brought up by opponents.
The state and local school systems would share an estimated cost of $15 million per year.
"You can't put a cost on a life," State Rep. Favors said. "You can't do that, and so I'll just continue to say that."
When the bill is reintroduced, it will start in the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee. If it passes, it'll head to the full House Finance Committee and then the House floor.
The General Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday, January 9, 2018.