make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

New Hanover County schools improving school bus safety

READ MORE:
WILMINGTON -- The Director of Transportation for New Hanover County schools says putting seat belts on buses may do more than prevent injuries in the event of an accident. A series of school bus crashes in the past few months have compelled the US Secretary of Transportation to propose installing seatbelts on school buses nationwide. In addition, some local experts say seatbelts may help prevent accidents from happening in the first place. Bus rides to and from school can get a little hectic-- just ask some of the passengers. Myrtle Grove Middle School rider Kenyetta Stroman said, "When people jump the seats while the bus is riding, or when people crawl under it." Bus rider Nicholas Miller said, "The worst thing I've seen is people maybe tossing something back and forth. Like a basketball back and forth." Laura Severt has been a bus driver for New Hanover County schools for 14 years. She's never been in an accident, but worries every time she's distracted by her young passengers. Severt said, "Causing a problem or an issue, no matter how minor, that affects everybody's safety on the bus." New Hanover County schools Director of Transportation Mick Wayne said, "Taking your eye off the road for one second is dangerous because in one second a lot can happen." One possible solution to curbing bus driver distractions is seat belts. New Hanover County is already experimenting with seatbelts on some of its buses. Wayne says the experiment proves seatbelts make for a quieter ride. Wayne said, "It was fantastic! We had no discipline problems. The children were safe and the parents we're very receptive to the seatbelts." But others, like Severt, say seatbelts may be more harmful than helpful. She said, "Personally, I would choose not to have seatbelts on buses. If there were an accident and the driver was hurt, the kids would not have a way to get out if they needed to get out in a hurry." Wayne says installing seatbelts in buses could cost up to $10,000 per bus. He says he's optimistic it will happen, it just may be a while before he gets the money to do it. A state law went into effect December 1 that will also help curb driver distraction: school bus drivers are now prohibited from using cell phones. Both Wayne and Severt support the law and agree that it will make buses safer.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

»

Reply

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
CAPTCHA
Please re-enter the code shown in the image below.