Mississippi Could Debate School Bus Seatbelts

By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS | October 31, 2013

Mississippi lawmakers in 2014 could debate whether to require seatbelts in school buses, but it could be a tough fight.

The state budget is already stretched, and many lawmakers say they don’t want to push more expenses onto local school districts.

Plus, some lawmakers have shown over the years that they don’t like the government requiring seatbelt use in private vehicles.

Advocates say seatbelts could help reduce the severity of children’s injuries in case of a school bus wreck. Critics say, however, it would be difficult for school bus drivers to make sure all children are buckled up.

Democratic Rep. Johnny Stringer of Montrose says Tuesday that he checked with the state Department of Education: Mississippi had 184 school bus accidents last year, none of them fatal.

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