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Bus Safety in Our Area

May 11, 2005 |

Hundreds of buses are used everyday to transport students in our area and bus officials say they're working hard to make sure those kids are safe.

"It's just very shocking and very disturbing because it can happen to anybody at any given time," says transportation supervisor for Auburn-Washburn School District, Susan Rosetta, "as school bus drivers we don't like to see that happen."

A bus accident just a few weeks ago near Topeka on the Kansas Turnpike sent six to the hospital, three of them children.

Rosetta and others in the Auburn-Washburn District say safety is number one for their buses.

"We talk safety all the time, so I feel like we have very good drivers out here," she says.

The bus is also built to keep passengers safe.

"It is the most well-constructed vehicle on our roads today," says Debbie Romine from the School Bus Safety Boards at the Kansas Department of Education, "it is the safest form of transportation on our roads."

But, Kansas buses aren't required to have seatbelts.

"They really have not come to a conclusion that seatbelts are a cost effective safety measure on a school bus at this time because we have so few fatalities," says Romine.

But Rosetta says she expects seatbelts will be going into her buses soon.

"I know it's coming, within the next 5 to 10 years, everybody's going to have seatbelts on buses," says Rosetta, "it's just something we're going to have to look at."

Rosetta says a lap belt alone doesn't protect kids in a school bus crash.

She says only seatbelts that have the shoulder restraint will be effective.

And only two kids fit on a seat with seatbelts, three can fit without them.

That means more buses, more drivers and more cost for the bus companies.

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