Seat Belts on School Buses?

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PALMYRA TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- School bus drivers and parents in the Poconos are concerned for kids' safety and many believe the recommendation for seat belts could make students safer.

For the longest time, buses like those in the Wallenpaupack Area School District, have not had seat belts. At least one bus company--and many more parents--hope that changes now that the feds are making the recommendation.

Parents say for years they have wanted school buses to have seat belts.

"They need seat belts on the bus. The kids are bouncing all over the place, and they need to be safe," said parent Christine Wyman.

Back in 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board merely asked states to consider putting seat belts on new buses. Now, it's recommending they be required. It's a step further but still not an absolute requirement.

Rob Dimino showed Newswatch 16 a school bus with lap belts. His family has been transporting kids to and from school since the late 1960s. He says the seat belt debate has been waged for as long as he can remember.

"They got to do it the correct way. Matrons should be on buses, especially three-point harness buses. I think that makes everyone a lot safer," Dimino said.

Still, some parents are convinced any added safety helps.

"I always thought there should be, especially for the younger children on the bus. It's scary to me," said parent Laura Merol.

"If you have two little kids in the seat, yeah I believe they should be seat belted. Then they're sitting down and facing forward," said parent Michelle Lamas.

"If we had seat belts, I'd make sure they use it. My two need to be safe," said Wyman.

Dimino Bus Service also teaches bus drivers. The owner believes those seat belts, if installed, need to be used correctly or kids could wind up using them to hit each other.

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