Tennessee crash revives debate over school bus seat belts
By CAROLYN THOMPSON and ERIK SCHELZIG
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A crash that killed five children in Tennessee is reviving discussion over whether school buses – considered among the safest vehicles on the road because of their height and bulk – should also be equipped with seat belts.
Only six states mandate seat belts on large buses. Others, including Tennessee, have considered but dropped such legislation in recent years out of concerns including cost – estimated at around $7,000 to $10,000 per bus.
Until recently, federal regulators didn’t push the idea. That changed a year ago when National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Mark Rosekind called for a three-point seat belt on every bus.
The NTSB has made the same recommendation for newly purchased buses, saying seatbelts would be especially helpful in side-impact crashes and rollovers.
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