It’s back to school time - some kids went back this week - most return next Monday. So why is it a law for everyone to be buckled up in their car but we put our kids on school buses without them?
The Texas Legislature passed a law in 2007 requiring school buses be equipped with three-point seat belts -- but they also added a state funding clause.
“The changes made by section 2 of this act do not take effect unless the Legislature appropriates the money for reimbursing school districts,” says Bill Powell, director of transportation at Cypress Fairbanks ISD.
Seat belts add up to $10,000 to the price of each school bus. Included in education funding cuts by the Texas Legislature in 2011 was money earmarked for seat belts on school buses.
However, Powell also says there's no hard data to show seat belts make a school bus safer.
“There's NHTSA information which says there's insufficient reason at this time due to the safety factor that school buses have being the safest mode of transportation for students to and from school,” he tells KTRH News.
Powell says stats show compartmentalization -- closer seats with higher backs -- work just as good or better.
“We do like the compartmentalization aspect, but if studies show that seat belts are safer, then Cy-Fair will be one of the districts I'm sure would step up and look at adding seat belts very heavily,” says Powell.
Until funding restored or data suggests otherwise, districts will continue to purchase buses without seat belts at a lower cost.