Mississippi Lawmakers Discuss School Bus Seat Belts

(DeSoto County, MS) Stephanie Huddleston says she gets a lump in her throat every time she hears about a traffic accident involving a school bus.

“I’m very concerned for their safety, the children. Do I think seat belts would make a difference? I don’t know.”

That’s why Mississippi lawmakers met Tuesday to get answers to those questions.

They’re considering a mandate to install seat belts in school buses.

”These buses are about as safe a vehicle as you’ve got on the road right now,” said John Caldwell, who is in charge of the buses that take 18,000 DeSoto County School children to class every day.

He says government figures show that, even without seat belts, school buses are the safest form of travel around.

What makes these buses safer?

The size of the bus distributes the force of an accident more evenly.

Plus, the seats are closer together and the seat backs are higher and they’re padded.

It’s called compartmentalization.

Caldwell says seat belts are a hot topic around the country, but DeSoto will do whatever State lawmakers want.

“We’re kinda in the advisory mode, but certainly we would comply with any regulations that are put on us.”

Most parents seem to like the idea, but most, would like to know more.

”I would definitely like to see what the statistics are on the injuries and that kind of thing,” explained Huddleston.

Lawmakers haven’t set a deadline on any seatbelt decisions.