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Governor Calls for Safety Belts on Buses

Governor Matt Blunt is calling on lawmakers to stipulate that when school districts buy new school buses, they must be equipped with shoulder and lap belts. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

That recommendation goes one step further than the recommendation from a school bus safety task force, which suggested putting seat belts in buses but did not suggest making belts mandatory.

Blunt appointed the task force after three school bus crashes within one week this spring killed two drivers and injured dozens of school children.

At a press conference in Springfield today (Thursday), Blunt called for a gradual change from school buses without seat belts to ones that are equipped with the safety feature.

The task made many recommendations and the governor endorsed all of them.

Even though there is a long list of recommendations and ways to improve school bus safety, Blunt says parents shouldn't be afraid to let their children ride a school bus.

The acquisition of new school buses equipped with safety belts is sure to be expensive for school districts.

Blunt says the state should help with the cost.

Besides seat belts, the task force recommended districts consider using paid and volunteer monitors on buses and equipping buses with cameras that help drivers monitor student behavior.