Seat belts are now a must in new school buses, despite budget cut - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Seat belts are now a must in new school buses, despite budget cut

By Katie Bauer - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - All new school buses must be equipped with seat belts, but funding for this new state law has been cut by more than half.

Lubbock ISD says the added cost would be hard to cover without the state's help, but that doesn't stop the law from taking effect on Wednesday.

"School buses are the safest vehicle on the road, they are designed that way," said LISD Chief Administrative Officer Berhl Robertson.

The Texas Legislature says this new law will make them even safer.

"They also passed the law with the intent to fund this program with seat belts and evidently that's been cut at this point to some extent," said Robertson.

Originally the Texas Education Agency allotted $10-million for equipping new buses with seat belts, but that has now been slashed to $3.6-million.

Robertson says it will cost an additional $10,000 to $15,000 to add the seat belts to new buses, buses that already cost nearly $100,000.

"Any increased expenditure will be very difficult on the budget, however there is still $3.6 million out there for this purpose," said Robertson. 

The law requires new buses to have three point seat belts that cover the student's laps and shoulders.

"Safety features like that are necessary," said Andre Simpson, a father of four.

Simpson says he is all for this new legislation.

"People might complain saying maybe they aren't needed, just think about it if your children is in that situation and they are in an accident would you rather say oh well we didn't need that legislature or in the event that does happen, they're safe," said Simpson.

While there is still debate on whether or not seat belts will make a difference in safety, Robertson says for LISD students come first.

"It boils down to student safety and what is the best thing for buses to be equip with for student safety and I think that question is still out there in terms of the research in seat belts and school buses," said Robertson.

Robertson says the district typically replaces school buses every 10-15 years, and that it may be another two to four years before they are ready to purchase a new bus.

Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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