Allen County students adjusting to seat belts on school buses

There are more than 50 buses equipped with the lap-shoulder belts spread out in each public school in Allen County.

Posted: Oct 26, 2018 10:41 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Students seem to be adjusting to new seat belts on Allen County buses well.

There are more than 50 buses equipped with the lap-shoulder belts spread out in each public school in Allen County.

Northwest Allen County Schools has about 30 buses with the seat belts after retrofitting 24 buses over the summer.

Fort Wayne Community Schools also has about 30 buses with the belts.

"It's great to know when your child leaves they are going to get on a vehicle that does have seatbelts," said Kevin Lyons, who's daughter rides a NACS bus with seat belts.

He said the belts fit with the culture of the school.

"One of community, and safety and things of that nature. It fits right in with what they have going on there at the school," said Lyons.

Districts said the elementary kids have no problem adjusting with the seat belts. It's the older kids, such as middle school and high school kids that are having a hard time adjusting.

"There's not been any issue, it's just the older students, they are not quite as excited about the seatbelts," said FWCS spokeswoman Krista Stockman.

Anytime you have change, there's a period of adjustment and this is no different," said Thomas North, NACS Transportation Director.

Opponents of seat belts on school buses say having the kids buckled up could hinder evacuations in case of a fire.

NACS had a bus without seat belts catch fire earlier this year.

North said seat belts shouldn't make a difference in an evacuation.

"You know, kids get in and out of seat belts every day in a car," said North.

In fact, he said seat belts might prevent crashes because kids aren't causing as many distractions.

"It helps keep them in their seat. They are just talking to the buddy next door rather than worrying about a friend that's two or three seats back," said North.

"There are less distractions as far as things that go on in the back of the bus," said Lyons.

FWCS and NACS will continue to buy buses with seat belts as part of their normal bus replacement plan.

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