Bozeman school district to add seat belts to buses

School district to install seat belts on buses

Bozeman Public Schools will install seat belts to its fleet of 40 buses by the start of the 2018 school year, transportation director Vance Ruff says.

“It helps give more structure for students once they’re on the bus and traveling and a better situation for the bus driver,” Ruff said. “If there’s less moving around on the bus there’s less distraction, which all that plays a factor towards no accidents.”

Ruff told NBC Montana the school district is in the last year of its five-year contract with school bus contractor First Student. He said renewing the contract with the addition of seat belts now is cheaper than if the district made this decision a few years ago.

Seven of the district’s special needs buses currently have three-point adjustable seat belts that will soon be installed on all of the buses. Ruff told NBC Montana it’s an $83,000 investment.

Bozeman resident Maribeth McCleary is a mom to two kids. They’re grown now, but when they were in elementary school she didn’t allow them to ride the bus because it didn’t have seat belts.

“It just doesn’t make sense if it’s a law for people in a car,” McCleary said.

Next up, the district will work to train students and drivers on how to use the seat belts. Then Bozeman Public Schools will coordinate with First Student to install the new seats in July. Ruff told NBC Montana the goal is to have all of the seats installed by August.

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