A look into the bill that could put seat belts in school buses - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

A look into the bill that could put seat belts in school buses

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UNION GAP, WA - Parents do everything they can to keep their kids safe: every time you get in the car, you make them put on a seat belt...so why doesn't that happen on school buses?

Reporter Veronica Padilla looked into the State Senate bill hoping to change that.

The Washington Legislature is just one of 17 other states considering bills like SB 5054. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, six kids die in school bus crashes every year. Thankfully, no kids were hurt yesterday after a Pasco school bus hit a woman...but last year, six kids were killed in a horrific bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

State lawmakers are trying to make sure that tragedy doesn't happen here.

Bill 5054 would require all public and private buses bought after the law takes effect to have seat belts.

Union Gap School District Superintendent Kurt Hilyard says school buses are already safer than regular cars, but he is still all for seat belts in school buses, especially if it saves even one kid's life.

But he also sees one downside.

"A bus driver is the only person on the bus and they're trying to drive the bus, and trying to keep track of making sure that all the kids stay buckled in is going to be difficult," said Hilyard. "So there would have to be some sort of an alarm system or something that would go off if a student wasn't wearing a seat belt or took the seat belt off while the vehicle was moving, because again, they're by themselves."

Superintendent Hilyard says if the bill were to become law, it would take some time to install seat belts in the district's buses. He'd expect it to be something done over the summer months, but he doesn't think adding seat belts would require too much extra training for school bus drivers.

Meanwhile, it's now a waiting game for SB 5054. A committee is now deciding whether to pass the proposal onto the legislature or reject it.

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