New regulation may require students to wear seat belts when riding the bus to school

NORFOLK, Va. - Children who ride the bus to school may soon have to buckle up thanks to a new national school bus regulation that may soon become a requirement.

A deadly, scarring scene from two horrific crashes involving school buses with children on board in Tennessee and Maryland in 2016 haunted many people -  especially parents -  across the nation.

The National Transportation Safety Board said 12 people were killed in those two crashes - including six elementary school students -  and a total of 37 people were injured.

This investigation sparked the national board to recommend that all students across the U.S. to wear seat belts while they’re on the school bus.

Local parents say the regulation is a good idea.

“I think it should have been passed along time ago. I think we probably see a lot of children in the chiropractor’s office because there are no seat belts," said Bonnie Rose.

The NTSB also said in addition to the seat belts, school buses will also have technologies like electronic stability control, automatic emergency braking and data recorders to help prevent collisions

Local schools say the safety of their students is top priority and if seat belts on school buses ever become law they will follow it. In that case, every child would be required to wear a lap-shoulder seat belt.

Below are statements from Hampton Roads school districts:

Newport News Public Schools

All Newport News Public Schools buses are in compliance with the current safety regulations. If state guidelines or regulations change, the school division will take the necessary steps to ensure compliance.

Portsmouth Public Schools

We believe our school buses are safe, and we will also comply with any new state guidelines regarding school bus safety. We are awaiting official state guidance, if any.

Norfolk Public Schools

Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) is aware of the NTSB’s new recommendation to include shoulder/lap belts on all new school buses.  NPS is in compliance with all current federal and state safety regulations.  Our Transportation department reviews safety protocols and best practices regularly to ensure the safe transport of our students and will continue to do so.  Once the state has approved guidelines to address the NTSB’s recommendations, we will follow the necessary steps to adhere to any new regulations.

Hampton Public Schools

Hampton City Schools is aware of the NTSB’s new recommendation that came out earlier today.  Hampton, like all other surrounding school divisions, is in compliance with all current laws and safety regulations.  To ensure the safe transport of our students, our transportation department reviews safety protocols and best practices regularly.  If the state approves guidelines to address the NTSB’s recommendations, we will certainly follow the necessary steps to adhere to any new laws/regulations.

Suffolk Public Schools

The safety of students in school and on the bus is our top priority. SPS complies with all current, required safety regulations. The NTSB is currently making a recommendation, but of course if seat belts are ever required by law, we will certainly comply. Our transportation department will continue to regularly review safety protocols and best practices to ensure the safe transport of our students.

Chesapeake Public Schools 

Chesapeake Public Schools is aware of the NTSB’s new recommendation to include shoulder/lap belts on all new school buses.  CPS is in compliance with all current safety regulations.  Our Transportation department reviews safety protocols and best practices regularly to ensure the safe transport of our students and will continue to do so.  If the state approves guidelines to address the NTSB’s recommendations, we will follow the necessary steps to adhere to any new regulations.  We hope it will not become an unfunded mandate.