Gray Line To Add Seat Belts To School Buses

Posted at 8:34 PM, Dec 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-20 21:41:35-05

Staff at one local bus company decided they are not going to wait for regulations to change. Gray Line Tennessee will be adding seat belts to school busses in the next two years.

The debate over seatbelts was re-ignited after the Chattanooga crash that killed six children in November.

And while lawmakers from Metro Council, the State Legislature and Congress discuss the issue, one company has taken action.

Gray Line Tennessee has 40 buses that service these 8 charter schools:

·         Strive Collegiate Academy (SCA) – 3 Routes
·         East End Prep (EEP) – 8 Routes
·         Explore Community (ECS) – 2 Routes
·         Rocketship – 12 Routes (2 schools – RUA and RNNE)
·         Smithson-Craighead – 3 Routes
·         Purpose Prep.  (PPA) – 3 Routes
·         Valor Collegiate  Academy (VCA) – 5 Routes
·         Intrepid Collegiate Academy (ICA) – 4 Routes

CEO Chuck Abbott said half of his fleet will have seatbelts by the next school year. The rest will be equipped the school year after that.

It will cost the company around a half million dollars.

"We spend a lot of time and money on safety, whether it's training or prescreening, all the technology we have," Abbott said, "so adding the seat belts on the school buses, in context, is really a small price to pay for safety."

An average of 11 people die on school buses each year, according statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Generally, the numbers average to include five drivers and six passengers.

That is the same number of kids who died in the single crash in Chattanooga.