Courtesy: Darius Johnson (WSAV)
News 3 is digging deeper when it comes to safety on board a school bus following several incidents in our area.
In May, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made a recommendation to add seat belts to school buses.
The NTSB is recommending all school buses have lap and shoulder seat belts.
But that’s not the current legislation in Georgia and South Carolina.
485,000 buses carry more than 25 million children to and from school every day, according to the National Association for Pupil Transportation. But some parents and local officials are concerned about safety.
According to reports, 281 children were killed in school bus crashes between 2007 and 2016.
Two deadly school bus crashes in 2016, reignited the seatbelt conversation with the NTSB.
One in Baltimore and one in Chattanooga. Combined they left 12 dead and 37 hurt.
In December of last year, Liberty County deputies say, a 5-year-old was killed when a school bus ran off the road.
In January, police say a 6-year-old was killed when a bus overturned in Warner Robbins.
And in March two children were hurt when a bus collided with a semi in Bulloch County.
Despite the statistics. Georgia and South Carolina remain 2 of 42 states not requiring seat belts on school buses.
In May, we spoke with Vanessa Kaigler, the Deputy Superintendent of Chief Operations for Savannah Chatham County Public School System. She told us they have one goal.
“Every morning when those kids are transported from home to school and from school to home, we want to see every one of them return to home safely,” she says.
We spoke with her about the latest seatbelt recommendations from the NTSB.
“We will definitely be looking at those specifications for the upcoming school year and we will be making that decision very quickly,” Kaigler said.
News 3 followed up with her on Wednesday to see if they’ve added school buses with seat belts since we last spoke. She says they are not adding seat belts to existing buses and they do not plan to purchase buses with seat belts.
We reached out to Bryan County school officials multiple times Wednesday to find out if they have seatbelts on their school buses. We have not heard back.