Seat belts coming to all new school buses starting in 2018

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Seat belts coming to all new school buses starting in 2018

A large percentage of the student body use the school buses as a means of transportation to and from school.

A large percentage of the student body use the school buses as a means of transportation to and from school.

Neha Perumalla

A large percentage of the student body use the school buses as a means of transportation to and from school.

Neha Perumalla

Neha Perumalla

A large percentage of the student body use the school buses as a means of transportation to and from school.

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According to a new state law, all 2018 and later model school buses are required to have seat belts as a precaution to increase the already safe forms of transport. The addition of seat belts is anticipated to raise the level of safety for student bus riders.

“School buses are the safest way to transport your children to and from school in the way they are designed today. School buses are carefully designed on a different transportation and protection model than the average passenger car,” Frisco ISD Director of Transportation Doug Becker said via email. “Overall, I professionally believe that the option of lap shoulder belts on school buses will enhance the safety of students riding a school bus especially in rollovers.”

Although school buses may already be one of the safest ways to get to school, seat belts will strengthen their reliability during the daily ride to school.

“Seat belts keep people in place during an accident and make sure they don’t go through the windshield, they make sure you don’t bounce out or get ejected out of the vehicle during crashes, and help people maintain control,” student resource officer Glen Hubbard said. “They would be a good implementation and cut down on injuries, just from day to day traffic and hard stops.”

In order to ensure that the seat belts will get their full use by students, there will be a procedure to manage students and their usage of the seat belts.

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“Frisco ISD will be establishing a usage procedure and a district disciplinary procedure for failure to properly wear a lap/shoulder belt,” Becker said. “We will require all students to wear the seatbelts with the understanding that it’s impossible for the driver to fully monitor the use.”

For some regular bus riders, the seat belts seem like a good idea as they are well aware of how hectic a bus ride can get.

“I think that if the lawmakers are doing it with the intent of safety, I understand and I would like for that to be promoted because while taking the bus, there can be sharp turns and jolts and people get out of their seats and it can get crazy sometimes,” junior Kanika Kappalayil said. “There’s a lot of school zones and moving in and out of them can get really crazy so sometimes the buses have to stop out of nowhere and I’ve seen a lot of people just lurch forward and they can get hurt.”

Although opting for seat belts may cost a great amount, in the end, they provide maximum safety for student bus riders.

“Seat belts would cost an estimated $8,000 to $10,000 more per bus and is a price tag that’s near-prohibitive for some districts,” Becker said. “Frisco ISD has decided to add the three point seat belts to all new buses purchased from this year forward. It is costly but when it comes to safety, it is hard to answer a question of ‘Is it worth it?’”