Federal safety regulators are now shifting into high gear when it comes to school bus safety. For the first time, they're calling for seat belts on every school bus in the U.S.
It may be hard to imagine, but most kids are not strapped in during their ride to and from school each day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates four children die every year in large school bus crashes.
Now, the agency says putting seat belts in buses would cut that number in half. Administrators hope change can come without new regulations, but currently just six states require school buses to have seat belts. And they are expensive, costing between $7,000 to $10,000 a bus.
With nearly half a million school buses in the U.S. the cost to retrofit them all could go into the billions.
"Seat belts save lives and it should be on every school bus for every kid. Let's start figuring out how to make that happen, not what the barriers are, but how to get those seat belts on every school bus," said Mark Rosekind with NHTSA.
NHTSA says if it has to go through the regulation-making process to get seat belts on school buses, it could take up to a decade.