Why don't all school buses have seat belts? - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Why don't all school buses have seat belts?

Officials respond to the bus crash Tuesday. (FOX19) Officials respond to the bus crash Tuesday. (FOX19)
BOONE CO., KY (FOX19) -

Why don't school buses have seat belts? It's a question that's been posed for years and some schools say they cost too much, while only a handful of states require them.

FOX19 NOW has learned while in some cases they work, they aren't always the best choice.

"The driver of our bus was wearing a seatbelt and our students had seatbelts on too. It was a kindergarten preschool run and they all had seatbelts on," said Randy Poe, Boone County Schools Superintendent.

The driver of a pickup truck struck the front of a Boone County school bus Tuesday at the intersection of Meadowlake Drive and US 42. The driver of the truck was Air Cared to the hospital.

There were 7 preschoolers on the bus headed to school at the time of the crash. The bus driver, an aide and two preschoolers went to the hospital but were later released.

"Apparently, they had three point harnesses on them which hopefully protected them. It does make me wonder if school buses do need seat belts," said a parent watching the cleanup.

According to Boone County Schools, under Kentucky state law all children under the age of 5 are required to wear seat belts while on school buses.

Boone County says all of their buses that transport preschoolers and kindergartners are equipped with those belts, but they are not always helpful.

"It is one of those situations in this particular time it's beneficial to the students that are on the bus. There are times when seat belts aren't the most appropriate thing because it's difficult to get them out of an emergency situation also," said Poe.

Related: Multiple injuries in Boone County school bus crash

A study handed to congress by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2002 found that safety belts did not improve protection from serious frontal impacts on school buses. The study adds that in some cases, simple lap belts on older children could cause more harm than good.

Boone County Schools says in this case due to the age and size of preschoolers, harnesses were appropriate and the parents that saw the evidence of Tuesday's crash are glad they had them.

Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.

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