Keeping students safe on school buses - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Keeping students safe on school buses

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With school back in session, there is increasing concern about the lack of seat belts on school buses

 KWWL toured a school bus today, to find out what safety features are in place to keep students safe in the absence of seat belts.

 While six states currently require school buses to have seat belts, Iowa does not.
  But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, even with out seat belts, school buses are the safest form of transportation to and from schools.
Every day thousands of students here in Eastern Iowa take the bus and while you won't find a seat belt, the buses are designed with safety in mind.
 Even the height of the school bus keeps students from direct impact in most crashes.

"If they're in a car and they hit another car, they're gonna hit head on or back to back or however their going to hit, this one their going to hit and its going to go under," explains Kathi Corbett, the General Manager of Durham School Services in Waterloo, which is contracted by the Waterloo School District for busing.

 The seats or "safety boxes" with high padded dividers are also designed to keep your kid safe.
"So as long as your kids are inside the seats on the buses, their safe," said Corbett. "Now if they are crawling around on the floor or their standing up in the middle of bus their not obviously as safe because if the bus stops you know they might go flying."

Waterloo School District drivers spend an extra 25 hours in training, that includes learning student management with the help of bus mirrors.
"Our drivers are encouraged to rotate between the different mirrors, just a few seconds at each mirror so they can see what's going on. If there is a problem on the bus or somethings going on with the bus that they need to pull over, which causes delays sometimes. But it's better to be a little late and have the kids safe than it is to be totally on time and have something happen," said Corbett.

Now the Waterloo School District does require seat belts for Pre-K students.
Durham School Services told me this is because the very young children are more likely to be up and out of their seats while the bus is moving.
Those seat belts cost about $150 a piece.

 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has confirmed it will make an announcement regarding seat belts and school buses sometime this fall. 
  We'll have to wait and see exactly what that announcement is.

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