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Monday, October 25, 2010 - 4:13pm

School Bus Seat Belts Too Costly

Updated: 4 years ago.
Seat belts in school buses are not cost effective according to a study by the University of Alabama. (photo by Edgar Treiguts)

A 3 year study of seat belts on school buses found that it’s not the most cost effective way to prevent fatalities. The report released in Alabama Monday will be studied by Georgia lawmakers.

The study was commissioned by Alabama Governor Bob Riley after 4 students died in a crash in Huntsville in 2006.

It found that school bus fatalities are rare and school buses are some of the safest vehicles on the road. In fact they’re saver for students statistically than a parent’s car.

Equipping buses with belts would cost between $11,000 and $15,000 dollars and reduce the number of students per bus by up to 12 kids.

Researchers say most school bus fatalities happen outside the bus and if money is short, as is the case in many states, it would be better spent making loading und unloading of buses a safer process.

“If we had unlimited funds we would advise putting seat belts in school buses, because they will add an element of safety," says Jay Lindly with the University of Alabama Transportation Center. He is one of the authors of the study.

"We just think that the most cost effective treatment would be loading and unloading areas. If we had unlimited funds, we'd do both."

Some Georgia lawmakers are looking into possible seat belt laws after a Carroll County student died in a bus accident earlier this month.

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