Three recent school bus accidents bring creation of a state school bus safety task force. Bus accidents in Kansas City, St. Louis and Hannibal have prompted Governor Blunt to set up a nine-person task force to make a comprehensive review of school bus safety in Missouri. The group is to have a report to the governor before the start of the next school year. He’s picked State Public Safety Director Mark James to head the project. Various safety studies by the school bus industry and by federal highway traffic safety officials will be part of the investigation. James says the adequacy of school bus driver training will be examined and the annual school bus safety inspections done by the highway patrol will be assessed. One focus will be the safety of school bus interiors. James says seat belts might not be the answer, at leat not lap belts. He says he’s heard of some studies indicating children are safer in school buses without them. And he says a school principal friend of his thinks the lap belts might pose a danger, because kids could swing them around and conk other kids nearby. James hopes the task force can hold its first meeting within a month.
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