Seat Belts on School Buses: Yes or No?

HOXIE, AR -- Should seat belts be required on school buses?  It's a question being asked once again in light of last week's school bus accident in Greene County.  While there are schools in the United States that do have seat belts on their school buses, having the belts is not a federal requirement or something every school feels is necessary.

Pamela Hughes said her son rides the bus everyday.

"I think it's very important for kids to have a seat belt when they ride the bus and not get on a bus without seat belts," said Hughes.

She and other parents feel like it would be safer for their kids.

"They don't have seatbelts now, but I think they best get some because I believe that's how it's safe for them," said Hughes.

After last week's school bus accident in Greene County, many are calling for seatbelts to be added.  It would cost about $10,000 more to buy a school bus equipped with seat belts and cost about $500 a seat to have belts added to current buses.

"I've never really considered having seat belts put on our buses," said Hoxie Superintendent Dennis Truxler.

In Hoxie, Superintendent Dennis Truxler said it's not about the money.

"I hope that we would look at the safety.  I hope that we don't put money above the students safety," said Truxler.

He said he worries everyday about the safety of his students.

"If the National Highway Transportation Administration came out and showed that it was a lot safer, then I hope that we would be able to find the money to put seatbelts on," said Truxler.

But he said he doesn't feel it's necessary.

"From the studies that I've read and the research that I've run, I would not be for seatbelts at this time," said Truxler.

Hoxie has several buses they've bought in the last few years and Truxler said the safety features get better and better every year, but nothing is a guarantee.  He said even if there were seatbelts on the buses, he would worry more about the safety of the students.

"If you're in an emergency situation, its going to take extra time to get everyone out of a lap belt or three point harness," said Truxler.

Regardless, parents like Hughes told K8 News they will continue putting their kids on the bus.