UPDATE: School Bus Seat Belts

By: Brian Doogs Email
By: Brian Doogs Email

STATELINE (WIFR) -- More on a story we first told you about last night. A local school district says making seat-belts mandatory on buses isn't necessary. The transportation director for Winnebago Schools tell us the belts could actually cause more of a problem.

Despite a recent spike in school bus crashes, they continue to be one of the safest modes of transportation in the country.

A bus is specially designed with tall seats and padding. This helps make for "soft landing" during a front impact crash. Now this doesn't apply in rollovers or side-impact crashes which are sparking the latest debate. Also for discussion is the impact belts would have in other types of crashes and emergencies and that has some worried.

"If you have 40 or 50 people on a bus and you have to go and cut each on of them out.that could be a challenge. The other challenge is enforcement. How do you make sure the kids are wearing their seat belts and wearing them properly," Winnebago Community School District Director of Transportation Mike Reiniders said.

With or without a law it didn't stop the Janesville School District from implementing seat belts on all their new buses since 2009. School board member Kevin Murray was part of that decision and one one he supports.

"I happen to be a retired firefighter and parametric i see first hand that seat belts save lives," Janesville School Board Member Kevin Murray said.

There are other safety concerns many have when it comes to seat belts including them being used as weapons on the bus. Another concern is the wide variety of children a bus carries and making sure they can accommodate everyone.

Wisconsin senator Tim Cullen began circulating the bill for co-sponsorship earlier this month with the deadline being tomorrow.

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