Deadly Missouri accident raises eyebrows about school bus safety - - Jackson, MS

Deadly Missouri accident raises eyebrows about school bus safety

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By Ashley Conroy - email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A deadly school bus accident in Missouri on Thursday that killed a 15-year-old student on board, and a 19-year-old driver of a pick-up truck, has some Mississippi parents concerned about the safety of their children riding the bus.

Grandparent Annette Hitt of Madison says her children will soon ride the Madison Co. school bus system when they attend school.

Hitt thinks seat belts on buses should be state law, but realizes it would come at a cost.

"Certainly seat belts would keep children in their place." Hitt continued, "However, the issue is not whether seat belts are needed the issue is where do we get the money to fund seat belts."

No state laws exist in Mississippi as a requirement for seat belt on school buses.

House Education Chairman, Cecil Brown (D) Jackson, is a proponent of the measure, and says cost shouldn't be an issue when it comes to safety of children.

"Money has got to be spent on something and if it's a matter of protecting the lives of children, that's something we're going to have to work on."

As a result, Chairman Brown says he would like address the issue in the future.

Meantime, Director of PUPIL Transportation for the Mississippi Department of Education, Leonard Swilley says other factors are considered in safety of children on school buses.

Swilley says drivers in Mississippi are required to have 8 hours of training through MDE, and an additional 4 hours of training through their district.

He also says refresher courses are offered every other year as a precautionary measure.

"During that training we update them on different aspects of student transportation as far as accidents, how to curtail the accidents," Swilley said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting further investigation to determine if seat belts on the school buses in the Missouri accident would have prevented loss of life.

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