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Published March 26, 2012, 10:14 PM

Fargo schools consider adding seatbelts to school buses

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Under North Dakota law, children under the age of 18 must wear a seat belt - unless they're on a school bus. That could all change for Fargo students. The district is looking at the possibility of adding belts to buses.

Under North Dakota law, children under the age of 18 must wear a seat belt - unless they're on a school bus. That could all change for Fargo students. The district is looking at the possibility of adding belts to buses.

On average, six school children die in bus related accidents each year.

Broc Lietz – Fago Public Schools: "Accidents happen, you take the appropriate precautions."

That's why the district asked a research company to compile a study on the effectiveness of seat belts on school buses.

Broc Lietz: "What does data tell us about the types of accidents, the frequency of those accidents, how are the vehicles designed?"

Some say school buses are already safe because they're built sturdy and have high seats.

Charlie Chinquist – Valley Bus Company: "They're in a padded area that's very padded as far as the seats and if they're in that area and there's some kind of accident with the bus the likelihood of any injury is very remote."

Fargo Public Schools contracts with Valley Bus Company for transportation services. Valley's special ed. buses already have belts. Adding similar belts to the big buses would cost a pretty penny.

Charlie Chinquist: "Well, I think there have been indications that it's $10,000-$15,000 at least each bus."

Valley has 60-80 big buses, meaning the cost could be $600,000 to $1.2 million. The study on belts on school buses is expected to be completed by mid-April.

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