Local school officials question school bus seat belt bill

Local school officials question school bus seat belt bill
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Every parent wants to feel like their child is in the safest environment possible when they watch them hop on the school bus, and a new bill is buckling down to make sure that your kids are buckled up.

Senate Bill 693 would require three-point seat belts to be installed on newly purchased school buses across the state. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows 55 people died on school buses between 2003 and 2012. Assistant Superintendent at River Road ISD Andy Nies said every bus purchased after 2010 has a lap seat belt in the first four seats. He also said safety is their top priority, but there's many unanswered questions with this bill, especially when it comes to funding.

"The prices of the buses is going to grow significantly just because of having these types of seat belts on every seat," said Nies. He continued, begging the question, "Are we going to get some assistance with our transportation funding from the state to help pay for these increased prices in the buses?"

And the answer to that question is no. The proposed bill does not include extra state funding to pay for these seat belts. However, school districts can opt out if they can't afford them. River Road Transportation Director Raymund Cobos said his concern is how to make sure students actually buckle up.

"The concerns are trying to keep the children buckled in their seat belts, it's going to be very difficult to do," said Cobos. He continued saying, "It would require the monitors to be on the bus, walking up and down the bus and checking to see if they're buckled up."

The Texas Senate voted 25-6 last week to send the measure to the house.

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