Diboll ISD says they can't afford seatbelts for their buses

By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Starting this year, your kids should be buckled up if they ride the school bus.

The problem? Some East Texas districts say they can't afford it.

The law was passed in 2007, requiring all Texas school buses bought after Sept. 2010 to have a three-point lap and shoulder seatbelts for passengers.

Diboll ISD says their old buses would have to be retro-fitted for the belts, costing $10,000  per bus.

It's money the district says they don't have unless the state gives it to them. The transportation director says the mandate also raises other concerns.

"If they're not wearing them then they could actually harm themselves, they could hit each other with them. There's just an endless amount of things that they would do with those seat belts if you're not monitoring them and the bus driver obviously can't keep his eye on the road and little Johnny in the back, making sure he has his seat belt on," said Diboll ISD Transportation Director Daniel Zarzoza.

The special education buses do have the seatbelts on them. He says even without the restraints, school buses are the safest transport on the road.

Lufkin ISD says they also are waiting on funding to put the belts in their buses.

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