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CONTACT 13: Should school buses have seat belts?

Posted at 7:51 PM, Nov 21, 2016

Following Monday's deadly bus crash in Tennessee, Contact 13 takes a look at what the Clark County School District is doing to keep kids safe.

School bus drivers in Nevada are mandated by law to wear seat belts but students are not required and that makes the Clark County School District like most others across the country.

CCSD relies on a concept called compartmentalization, which treats kids like eggs in a carton. Seats on large buses are strong, close together, high-backed, well-padded and designed to absorb energy during a crash.

The seat belt issue has been highly debated in the past with government agencies indecisive on whether they should be required. But as of last year, the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that new school buses should provide children with the best protection available, which includes three-point seat belts.

So far, only six states have passed school bus seat belt laws.

A CCSD spokesperson says seat belts have not been considered because of the budget.

Estimates show it would cost $30,000 to retrofit each bus, which would end up costing $48 million to retrofit CCSD's 1,600 buses currently on the road.

Despite no seat belts, many say school buses are the safest way for children to get to school.

"The most dangerous way to get to school firsts and foremost is in a vehicle driven by a sibling," said Erin Breen, Traffic Safety Coalition coordinator.  "But secondly is in a vehicle driven by a parent."