Panel Recommends Pilot Study of School Bus Seat Belts in Alabama

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A study group appointed by Governor Bob
Riley after a deadly school bus accident in Huntsville said Wedensday more research is needed to determine whether seatbelts should be required on school buses.

The group recommended that the state fund a 1.4 million dollar pilot study over three years to determine if seat belts on buses make children safer.

The seven-member group also recommended that Riley lead a state
charge pressuring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, to act faster regarding bus safety.

The agency, which makes safety recommendations and sets requirements, submitted a report to Congress on bus safety belts in 2002 but new regulations aren't expected to be implemented before

The proposed study's costs include hiring additional drivers, bus aides to monitor students and make sure they're wearing the seat belts, and more buses to compensate for capacity that will be lost with the addition of belts.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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