School Bus Seatbelts: Transportation Board Recommends Safety Measure on All New Buses

IOWA  --  In November, Channel 13's Dave Price looked into the price of safety for Iowa students regarding seatbelts on school buses, examining the cost to add them to districts' buses and whether drivers thought they would be beneficial. Now, in response to several school bus crashes, the National Transportation Safety Board says both shoulder and lap belts should be installed on all new buses.

A demonstration from the NTSB explains the reasoning behind this decision. Footage from a crash simulation shows test dummies being launched from their seats into the roof of the bus during a roll-over crash. This shows students are much more protected and held tightly in their seats when seatbelts are installed.

The Des Moines School District is already taking the NTSB's advice. Last year, officials ordered eight new buses, all with seatbelts. The district's former transportation director, Todd Liston, says the additional expense is worth the cost.

"Seatbelts add an extra layer of safety on there, but it's a very expensive layer," Liston said.

Adding seatbelts increases the cost of a new bus by $9,000, and retrofitting older buses would cost $15,000 each. At this point, the NTSB is only recommending seatbelts, not making them requirements.