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Investigators of I-44 crash consider school bus seat belts

file photo: UPI

By AP/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – Federal safety officials investigating a fatal school bus accident are looking at whether seat belts could have helped.

But state officials already recommended seat belts for Missouri school buses five years ago. In 2005, a task force suggested school districts consider buses with factory-installed lap and shoulder belts. That was after two dozen kids were hurt in a school bus wreck in suburban Kansas City.

At the time, then-governor Matt Blunt and lawmakers considered the idea. But the issue lost traction until the accident nearly two weeks ago on Interstate 44. Two people were killed, including a 15-year-old girl on one of the buses.

However Jessica Brinker was sitting near where the second bus hit hers. So it's unclear if a seat belt would have done any good.

Some advocates say schools buses already are the safest way to transport kids, but seat belts can make them even safer.

The biggest concerns are cost and reducing capacity of the buses.