School leaders on seat belts and safety on Alabama school buses

Will adding seat belts make buses safer?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A deadly school bus crash in Mississippi that killed the driver, and hurt eight children raises questions about seat belts and safety on Alabama school buses.

Most buses in Alabama do not have seat belts.

Craig Pouncey, Jefferson County School Superintendent said, “The state of Alabama does not require that. In fact studies have shown students are safer on standard school buses.”

Jefferson County has more than 500 buses. Ninety are for special education students and those do have seat belts and shoulder harnesses.

“Those are for students who don’t have full control of themselves or we have to fasten their wheelchairs in stationary positions,” Pouncey said.

The University of Alabama conducted a study on seat belts on school buses ten years ago. While seat belts are considered safer, some leaders say the cost of retrofitting schools buses would be greater than the benefits.

The National Safety Board leaves it up to states to determine if seat belts are required.

The cost for Jefferson County schools would be around $400,00.

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