HOUSTON, TX - It looks like the song "The wheels on the bus" needs an update. How about we add the line "the students on the bus go click, click, click"? The Houston Independent School District (HISD) announced every new school bus they'll buy from now on will have three-point seat belts.
This decision comes two months after a fatal bus crash on the south loop in which two teenagers lost their lives and two others were injured. But several questions still remain: will this measure really make a difference in preventing more fatalities?
"Absolutely, seat belts save lives," said Wretha Thomas, President of Houston Educational Support Personnel (HESP), which represents the district's school bus drivers. "Kids are a precious cargo that our bus drivers transport to school each and every day, and we need the community to get involved."
What about the existing buses that don't have the three-point seat belts?
"HISD will prioritize the longer routs," she expressed.
And last but not least: how are they going to enforce such new policy? "We're calling administrators, principals, teachers, board members, parents and students to help make this program successful, so we can keep our kids safe. We don't want to place all the responsibility on the bus drivers. It's going to take the whole community to make it happen."
Also, it's still not clear whether or not the students that died when the school bus fell off the highway were actually wearing the existing lap belts.
HISD maintains a fleet of about 1,100 school buses. Tomorrow, they will keep rolling through town… hopefully not making headlines.