School bus rollover sparks seat belt debate

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LANSING, MI. (WILX) - Terrifying video from a school bus in Ohio shows students tossed around inside after it was hit by a car.

Drivers continue to illegally pass school bus stop arms.

The video is bringing up the question: should school buses have seat belts?

Some question whether seat belts would keep your children safe or hurt the rescue process.

"School buses without seat belts are the safest form of transportation to and from school," said Patrick Dean, V.P. of Dean Transportation.

Many schools in Mid-Michigan contract Dean Transportation for bus services.

He believes no seat belts may have been what prevented more injuries or worse.

Most Michigan school buses don't have seat belts.

Dean said installing seat belts is more than just adding a few bolts.

"There are a lot of considerations from capacity of the bus to evacuation procedures and how you would train and how long you would adapt to installing seat belts," said Dean.

Dean said seatbelts on school buses need to be researched.

"There's a number of safety features, including seat belts, that need to be studied by the federal and state government to understand the effects and the pros and cons of equipping seat belts on school buses," said Dean.

But not everyone agrees, Meridian Township Fire Chief of EMS Bill Priese said he would like to see seat belts.

"They would certainly make the children riding on the bus safer," Priese said.

He said if the bus that rolled in Ohio had seat belts, first responders could've had an easier time treating students.

"There's going to be different injuries or more injuries when they are tossed about than if they are still seated and buckled in," said Priese.

Dean said even without putting seat belts on the buses, they are always looking for improvements.

"For us as a company, we are doing everything we can to make school buses a safer vehicle, again it's the safest form of transportation," said Dean.

Dean Transportation told News 10 in Michigan, even if a bus does have seat belts, schools can't require students to be buckled up.

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