NCSD Reacts To NTSB Seat Belt Recommendation Report

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Every day across the country nearly 500,000 buses carry more than 25-million students to and from school and activities.

A Federal Transportation Panel now recommends all new large school buses be equipped with seat-belts.

News 13's Justin Roth spoke with Natrona County School District transportation officials to get their take on the NTSB report.

Numbers don't lie each year nearly seven-thousand students are injured in school buses, and four to six are killed. Sydney Webb is the Director of Transportation for NCSD and says being a bus driver isn't easy, "Being a bus driver is very challenging, being engaged with driving and all the other drivers out on the road plus the safety of the children that are behind them. That's why it is critical we have excellent behavior on the bus minimize any distractions for the driver."

Bus drivers not only have to watch for distractions in their buses, but for other drivers' inattention. Det. John Hatcher of the Casper Police Department explains, "Any accident that we usually respond to it is usually because of distracted driving, and a lot of people think its always on cell phones and yes people are on their cell phones which is against the law to be texting and driving."

NTSB Officials' advice is just that, a recommendation, but Natrona County School District is ahead of the curve, "As a school district we decided to start ordering our buses with those seat belts, the should hardness and the lap belts" says Webb.

But the ordering process is slow. Webb adds, "I would say the majority of our buses do not have seat-belts unless they are special services buses that are required to have them. We have to order them they're specked out that way. So the rest of them would not have seat-belts other than the ones we started ordering two years ago."

Webb adds, bus transportation is safe as is, "The bus is the safest means for a school aged children even safer than the parents taking them to school. So as long as their within complementary of the bus the safety increases greatly."

But adding seat-belts could save lives in an accident, Det. Hatcher has seen it first hand, "Studies have shown seat-belts do prevent serious injury to people and so them thinking about putting them in school buses only makes sense to make children a little bit safer in them but yes we always want people to know not only is it the law to wear your seat belt but its also just a safe thing to do."

A simple click, so your child is kept from becoming part of a statistic.

Natrona County School District buses travel nearly six to seven thousand miles each day.