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Texas law requires school buses to have seat belts

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ABILENE, Texas - A new law went into effect on September 1 that requires school buses in Texas to have three-point seatbelts.

The law was passed after a deadly school bus accident in Houston left two students dead in 2015 when the bus fell off of an overpass.

Abilene ISD and Wylie ISD officials say they will provide bus safety training for drivers and students in case of an emergency.

Wylie ISD Assistant Superintendent Craig Bessent said they implemented the three-point seatbelt on some buses before this law even came into play. He mentioned that buses with those types of harnesses cost about $8,000 more.

"Price of vehicles continually go up, always, just like anything else, so we just incur that expense," Bessent said. "We think it's worth it and it's a good program."

Abilene ISD Transportation Director Rene McAden said seatbelts on buses have their pros and cons.

"The pro is that kids are belted in and the con is that if a bus catches on fire, you have two minutes to get all those kids out," McAden said. "So either way you look at it, it's the law and it's a safety issue and we're willing to you know excited to get them in there and make sure they're safe."

This Texas law affects buses that were manufactured after September 1, 2017. This means that older buses are not required to be retrofitted.

In 2017, Abilene ISD added five new buses with seatbelts and Wylie added three.

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