Would seat belts make Alabama school buses safer? The answer isn’t so simple

Seat belts on school buses
Seat belts on school buses(Source: WBRC)
Updated: Feb. 12, 2020 at 9:30 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Four elementary school students are recovering after being injured in a school bus accident in Birmingham Wednesday morning.

And bus video out of Ohio that shows students being thrown across a school bus after it crashed and flipped on its side is getting a ton of attention across the nation.

So it got us asking why Alabama doesn’t require school buses to have seat belts.

We spoke with the president of Transportation South in Pelham, Bucky Law.

He says in a catastrophic or rare circumstance, like a school bus in water, seat belts would make it more difficult to get kids out quickly.

But, with the accident we saw in Hoover, which is more common, he says seat belts would’ve helped.

He thinks seat belts will soon be federally required for school buses.

“We live in a society today, where we get in the car, we buckle up. It’s just odd to get into something and not buckle up. So I think we live today in a world where it’s expected, and it’s a weird thing to get on a school bus and it not have a seat belt,” said Law.

We also spoke with Chad Carpenter at the Alabama State Department of Education and he agrees with Law in that the biggest issue is funding.

In order to have seat belts on every school bus, you’d need to buy new buses.

And because seat belts would limit the number of students on each bus, you’d need to pay for more buses, which in turn means paying for more drivers.

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