Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC) officials have decided to be the first district in the state to have seatbelts in some school buses.
BCSC Transportation Manager Monica Coburn said this year’s order of buses will include safety belts.
“We have 110 school buses, but we’re only ordering six with seatbelts,” Coburn said. “It is going to be a pilot program.”
The seatbelts add $15,000 to the sticker price of a bus. That means the new buses will cost the district about $125,000 each. Coburn said the BCSC considers the additional cost a small price to pay for student safety.
“The pilot program will give us an opportunity to test the seatbelts and see how the [new] safety [feature] works for us,” she said.
Coburn said the seatbelts will also help keep students in their seats, where they’re less likely to cause trouble.
Coburn said BCSC buses are already fitted with a number of other [safety] options. All 110 BCSC buses currently have digital camera systems that cost more than $3,000 each.
The BCSC will road-test the new seatbelt-fitted buses for a year. After that, they’ll decide on whether to retrofit the existing fleet of school buses with safety belts.