Hoover proposes seatbelts on buses

Published 8:20 pm Sunday, March 12, 2017



A suggestion was made Thursday to the Lunenburg County school officials to consider purchasing school buses equipped with seatbelts.

T. Wayne

The suggestion came from District One Supervisor T. Wayne Hoover during Thursday’s Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors meeting, where Division Superintendent Dr. Charles Berkley and Executive Assistant to the Superintendent James Abernathy presented an update on the division.

As Berkley and Abernathy were discussing the projections of the budget, Hoover inquired about the purchase of new buses during the upcoming 2017-18 school year.

“Possibly one bus,” Abernathy responded.

Charles Berkeley

“I’ve been thinking about that and asking around, and I know it carries a financial cost, but we preach to everyone it’s a state law to wear a seatbelt,” Hoover said. “I must admit I’ve never understood why we don’t put seatbelts on school buses.”
“Having (worked in) public safety for over 30 years I personally — I know it’s happened — but I personally have never unbuckled a dead person,” Hoover continued.

Hoover asked the school officials and supervisors to give consideration to implementing school buses with seat belts.

Hoover said he understands the cost to retrofit seat belts on the existing buses would cost too much money, suggesting the school board consider purchasing buses with seat belts over time.

Berkley said he would consider the suggestion.

“Third, fourth, fifth grade and on, I’m not to worried about making sure that they’re buckled,” Berkley said in response. “But Kindergarten, pre-K, first, and second (grades) … it might need to occur for us to have a monitor or an aide on the bus in addition to the driver.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas have passed some variation of seat belt laws for school buses.