MISSOULA- Lawmakers across the country and right here in Montana are proposing to have seat belts installed in all new school buses.
Missoula County Public Schools is drafting plans for adding seat belts to all buses transporting students.
New school buses with seat belts are planned to enter the Missoula County school bus fleet as soon as fall 2019.
Missoula educators say it's their duty to keep children safe, and installing seat belts to their bus fleet lowers risks of student harm.
Working with Beach Transportation for 72 years, Missoula County says they're aware of the proposal's added costs, but student safety outweighs any price.
"As we enter into negotiations with Beach transportation and as the district requests that seat belts be included on school buses,” said Missoula County Public School Superintendent, Mark Thane.
Administration officials say it costs $10,000 dollars to refit an old bus with seat belts and of 72 buses, 24 cannot be retrofitted with seat belts.
Officials say those 24 buses will only be used for local, slow speed rides.
Only four states in the country require seat belts on school buses.
County officials say they plan to have all buses installed with seat belts within the next three years.