CUMBRIAN children who refuse to wear their seatbelt on the school bus could face a travel ban under a safety crackdown.

The suggestion was mooted by county council leader Stewart Young after hearing that some youngsters using council-funded services think wearing the life-saving precaution is “uncool”.

Speaking at the county council’s Local Committee for Carlisle, Coun Young said the authority needed to “take a much harder line” to tackle the issue.

He said the “vast majority” of buses used for home to school transport were paid for by the council, though some schools did operate their own services.

He added: “I know it sounds hard, but ultimately you say: ‘If you don’t wear a seatbelt, you’re not allowed on the school bus, and your parents will have to make arrangements to get you to school. That might concentrate the mind.

“I know it sounds a bit draconian but it’s far better than being injured if, heaven forbid, the bus was to crash and they’re not wearing a seatbelt.”

The Local Committee agreed to take the suggestion to the county council’s cabinet for consideration.

The comments were made in response to a report setting out the arrangements that the Cumbria Road Safety Partnership has in place to protect young people.

The meeting also heard that road safety awareness training and education in schools could also be a “very effective” approach.

Earlier, the meeting heard that many young people felt “pressured” into not wearing a seatbelt by their peers.

Coun Karen Lockney said: “I taught for four years at a school in the south of the county and in those years we lost four young people in road traffic accidents, none of them drivers of the car: they were all passengers who didn’t wear their seatbelts.

“I was alarmed recently. My daughter has just started secondary school and had started getting the bus to school instead of me taking her.

“And I learned from her that the wearing of seatbelts is seen as extremely uncool on the bus, so people will comment if you’re wearing one.”