Parents voice their opinions on school bus seat belts

GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT)- Changes to school buses could be in the works. Federal regulators want seat belts in school buses across the country. The National Association for Pupil Transportation wrapped up its summit on Tuesday. Some members supported the new recommendations.

Parents say they are in favor of school bus seat belts, but it could come with a cost.

Parents of Pitt County director and mother of two, Kylene Dibble, is not opposed to school bus seat belts. She says a lot of things could be added to school safety and seat belts are just one of them.

"It would certainly be a valuable discussion, it would be great to get lots of parent opinions, I think that there would be great use of having seat belts on school buses," Dibble said. "At the same time we have to think about things like having appropriate numbers of teachers in our classrooms and things like that."

Parents of private school children, Tim and Amy Nichols, say their child's school buses have seat belts, and it makes all the difference.

Tim Nichols said, "It's a safety factor that really helps keep your child. You don't have to worry if they're up running around or anything."

The Nichols along with other parents say they would be willing to pay extra for the belts.

"The driver can do their job driving instead of watching that the children are in their seats," Amy Nichols said. "And the children will be safer in their seats with the seat belt."

Parent, Karen Honeycutt, says, "I think if it saves one child's life its well worth it."

According to The National Coalition for School Bus Safety it would cost school systems $1,000 per bus to install seat belts.

In Lenoir County, there are 134 school buses, adding seat belts would cost them around $134,000.

Pitt County has 218 buses in their fleet, their total could reach $218,000.

Dibble is confident her kids are safe riding the school bus without them.

"I feel absolutely fine, my children ride on school buses mainly for field trips, but I do not question it, I feel perfectly okay," Dibble said.

Nothing is going to change right away, the discussion to require school bus seat belts is still in the early stages. Right now, they are only mandatory in six states.

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