The Metro Public School Board in Nashville, Tennessee, unanimously passed a one-sentence resolution to commission an impact study to determine whether seat belts on buses are in the best interest for the safety of students on board.
In light of the string of deadly school bus crashes, the Metro Public School Board asked Director of School Shawn Joseph to study the correlation between seat belts and safety, as there have been conflicting reports on their true value.
“We have seen studies that recommend seat belts and studies that state that school buses are safe without them,” said Anna Shephard, MNPS school board chair.
According to Shephard, the report’s findings will be expected early February. Once the results are received and the board has a discussion on the board floor, the board will move to decide on which measures are needed to be addressed and enforced.
The resolution, however, does not state what type of restraint systems would be required given the findings call for the need of seat belts.
The study was initially introduced by Council Members Karen Johnson and Ed Kindal in response to the Chattanooga school bus crash that killed six students and left dozens injured last year.
Shepard mentioned the cost to retrofit each bus MNPS currently owns would be approximately $12,000. Aside from retrofitting each bus, the district would also have to purchase extra school buses since seat belts limit the number of students transported.
“The bottom line is that there is no price tag on student safety,” Shepard said.
Currently, the Tennessee state code does not require retrofitting or the installation of seat belts on school buses.