A seat belt law for school buses in Connecticut took a big step toward reality on Monday.
For the first time in 20 years, a bill requiring seat belts on all public school buses made it out of committee.
The law was proposed by Rep. Antonio Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, co-chair of the legislature's transportation committee, after a student died in a school bus crash on January 9.
Vikas Parikh, 16, died after the bus he was riding in overturned on I-84. Parikh's family testified before lawmakers last month. They say seat belts would have saved Parikh's life.
The bill would require all school buses to have lap and shoulder belts in 2012. The Department of Motor Vehicles would have the authority to suspend the registration of any school bus that did not have the proper seat belts.
In the past 20 years, over 20 bills that would require seat belts on school buses have come before the legislature. None has made it out of committee until Monday's vote.
While the bill cleared its first legislative challenge -- lawmakers say the details of the proposal will likely change in the coming weeks. Guerrera, calls the proposal "a work in progress" and said that he hopes to address concerns raised by some opponents including the cost of installing seat belts, according to the Associated Press.
Only six states have passed seat belt laws for school buses, including New York and New Jersey.