Seatbelts on School Buses: Who Will Pay?

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For the first time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is recommending three-point seat belts in school buses. But is there money to actually do that nationwide or even in school districts in our area?

A recent school bus crash on Blackman Street in Wilkes-Barre was a minor fender bender. None of the children on the bus was hurt. But it's the possibility of a far worse crash that has the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now recommending three-point seat belts on school buses.

"On school buses there are just a bunch of kids together, in one pile, and now you see more accidents. I'm wondering why they didn't do that a while ago. Even when I was a going to school," said Richard Matello of Kingston.

The government  has suggested in the past that retrofitting school buses with new seat belts would be expensive--as much as $10,000 per bus. For Matello, his eigth grade grandson is worth every penny.

"I gotta think they can get it from someplace."

"That's a significant expenditure. Believe me, if you are talking $10,000 a vehicle, because we have quite few routes here at the district, so that would be a significant cost," Wyoming Valley West Superintendent Charles Suppon said.

Suppon likes the idea of seat belts on school buses, but if the government requires it, he hopes the government  pays for it.

"When you look at it, there truly is no substitute for safety in regards to students. It's going to be an endeavor that really we need to think about how to do it best."

Congressman Lou Barletta agrees. He says if the idea of putting seat belts on school buses becomes a requirement, the federal government should help pay for it.

But right now, it's just a recommendation that school districts can choose to follow if they want.

6 comments

  • frank pendell

    P.S. talk to the drivers not the supt. or the guy on the street. they are not in the bus. there are videos of tests of bus crashes and the results show that the children are safer without belts.

  • frank pendell

    very bad idea. who is going to enforce the buckle up. not the driver,he/she has to drive. the kids will unbuckle as soon as the bus moves.elem kids mayby will stay buckled but the older kids will not. i am a driver and i will not reach into yhe lap of your 2nd grader to help her/him to buckle up. drivers in the binghamton area told me they can’t enforce it.

  • Haydee Guzman

    Skook3 your absolutely right!!!! Don’t we the working people pay school taxes every year.?? We sure do. Its for the safety of our children. And in my opinion about the recent bus crash in WB. I’ve personally seen some of these drivers and they need extra help on the bus. An aide to help with the children. How is the bus driver suppose to driver, make all these stops, and deal with all those kids on the bus ??That takes away from paying attention to the road. Glad no one was hurt. But seatbelts should be put on every bus.

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