Should school buses have mandatory seat belts?

(WLNS) – Buckle up! The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is changing their stance on seat belts in school buses across the country.

While safety comes first, many wonder what it will cost and how to enforce it.

6 News Neha Sheth has more.

Mandatory seat belts on schools buses; it’s a highly controversial topic across the country and here in mid-Michigan.

“It’s not new, it’s been going on for years. Our fellow government has been studying school buses and presently a yellow school bus is the safest mode of transportation,” said Kellie Dean, Dean Transportation.

Currently only six states require seat belts on yellow school buses and that doesn’t include Michigan. The most pressing concern when it comes to mandatory seat belts for police is enforcement.

“How do we ensure the safety belts are worn by the occupants because there are not going to be as effective if they are improperly worn,” said Michigan State Police Sgt. Mike McLaughlin.

Pushing pupils away from schools buses by mandating seat belts is also a big concern.

“We want to ensure we don’t force people away from riding a school bus because again they are the safest mode of transportation.”

And while some say seat belts are icons of public safety other say they’re just too costly.

“Our school districts are struggling right now to replace yellow buses and keep their fleet up to the current day standards so the addition of this expense will be quite challenging.”

While it’s uncertain if or when seat belts will be federally mandated, what is clear is the recognition of safety as a public issue in transportation.

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