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School buses exempt from seat belt laws because of cost

January 12, 2004
By: Aidian Holder
State Capital Bureau

Seat belts could have helped protect the children injured in Monday's school bus rollover . . . but Missouri exempts school buses from the seat belt law. Aidian (uh-dee-an) Holder tells us why.

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Missouri has 127 pages of regulations dealing with school buses - spelling out everything from the color of the hood to the type of bolts used on the drive line. Nowhere in those 127 pages are seat belts required.

The reason: the cost. Putting lap belts in buses could cause more head and neck injuries in minor crashes; and putting in shoulder belts would require a major redesign in the buses.

Lt. Tim Hull of the Highway Patrol works on the Governor's Task Force for School Bus Safety.

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Contents: Hull says parents or taxpayers will have to pick up the tab

Hull says school buses are still some of the safest vehicles on the roads, with far lower accident rates than private cars.

From the State Capitol, I'm Aidian Holder