LINCOLN, Neb. — A school district here recently approved a $1.4 million purchase for new school buses that will be equipped with lap-shoulder belts, the Lincoln Journal Star reports.
In May, the Lincoln Public Schools board of education agreed to purchase 12 new school buses, including seven that are wheelchair accessible, and two 84-passenger and two 72-passenger buses, according to the newspaper.
The board's decision came after its adoption of the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) recommendation to mandate lap-shoulder belts on all new school buses.
Liz Standish, the associate superintendent of business affairs for Lincoln Public Schools, told the Lincoln Journal Star that the district will “have a mix of seat belt configurations in our buses for many years to come,” and that the district believes “all of the buses are engineered to keep students safe.” Ryan Robley, the district’s director of transportation, added that each bus with lap-shoulder belts costs an additional $10,000 to $20,000. Despite the cost, the district said it plans to equip all of its new buses with lap-shoulder belts going forward, the newspaper reports.
Lincoln Public Schools currently transports about 3,600 of its students on school buses, and more than 90 of those buses have lap-shoulder belts, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
As SBF previously reported, Omaha Sen. Robert Hilkemann proposed several bills that would require lap-shoulder belts on school buses; however, the Lincoln Journal Star reports that none of his efforts have been successful, including Legislative Bill 634, which was introduced in January. The bill is currently in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, according to the state legislature's website.