Seat belts may be required on school buses

Posted at 9:54 PM, Sep 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-10 22:54:19-04

Only six states require seat belts on school buses, but recent wrecks have prompted officials to look into safety changes.

 Two children and a teacher's aide died in a bus accident in Knoxville, Tennessee last December. Out of the 25 million children that ride everyday, on average, four die each year. 

Safety experts say lives are saved by a bus design called compartmentalization. The seats absorb energy and are designed to protect riders if the bus is hit from the back or front. 

A rollover accident can have a very different outcome. 

Four students here in Tulsa were transported to the hospital after a bus landed on its side, in April. 

"If the bus is hit from the side or it rolls over, compartmentalization means nothing," said Kids And Cars Founder Janette Fennel. "Now if you have them in a seat belt, they will stay restrained and injuries will be minimum."

In Oklahoma, from 2011 to 2013, the state averaged about two bus crashes per year.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration expects to make a move this fall. Administrator Mark Rosekind says seatbelts may be included in that action.