Federal recommendation for seat belts on school buses draws loca - FOX Carolina 21

Federal recommendation for seat belts on school buses draws local support

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Seat belts may soon be required on school buses (FOX Carolina) Seat belts may soon be required on school buses (FOX Carolina)

Monday, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration made a recommendation that all school buses be equipped with seat belts, a push that is gaining support locally. 

"We want everyone to be riding safely and securely at all times, whether they are in a car or on the school bus." said Ayesha Ahmad, program coordinator at Safe Kids Upstate, which is affiliated with the Greenville Health System. 

"Seat belts save lives," said Mark Rosekind, Administrator for the NHTSA. "They should be on every school bus for every kid. Let's start figuring our how to make that happen, not what the barriers are, but how to get those seat belts on every school bus."

The South Carolina Dept. of Education said they have no plans as of yet to install seat belts on buses. 

A spokesman for the department sent FOX Carolina a statement which read: 

"We always follow state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to school bus safety."
Our number one priority is to keep our children safe and we'll work with state lawmakers and bus manufacturers to ensure we acquire buses that meet all the safety standards."

The NHTSA safety belt push is a reversal from past recommendations. The Administration has never been vocally supportive of seat belts on school buses until now. 

Ahmad said to retrofit existing school buses with belts would be costly, but in her view, safety should be a priority.

Sources said to install the belts might cost upwards of $20,000 per bus. It is unclear who would foot the bill for that. 

Currently, school districts are not federally required to have safety belts on school buses, but that could soon change. 

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