Seat belts to be installed on school buses in Westfield

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WESTFIELD, Ind. (March 5, 2015) -- Seat belts on school buses has been a topic of discussion for years. Now, Westfield is putting them on some of their buses as part of a pilot program. The Westfield-Washington School District is working with Westfield-based IMMI on this pilot program. IMMI is dubbed one of the world's leading makers of seat belts.

The pilot program includes the installation of seat belts on six of Westfield's newest school buses at a cost of $75,000. Depending on how the pilot program works, additional buses will have seat belts installed on them. The six buses in this pilot program will be used for both every day student transport as well as for field trips and out-of-town sporting events.

Nick Verhoff, director of business and operations for the Westfield-Washington School District, says it's about keeping students safe.

"Inherently school buses are safe to start with and our track record shows that. We have never had any significant injury on a school bus accident," Verhoff said.

The school district says there are some details still to be worked out.

"Whether the kids would wear them, whether they would be a distraction, liability for the driver, how does the driver keep the seat belts on them, what does he do with them if they take them off," Verhoff said.

This pilot program is already gaining support from families.

Westfield student Amiah Sprunger said, "There are some unsafe drivers on the road sometimes and you never know."

Her mother, Casey Lanier, loves the idea of added safety for her daughter.

"There are just so many things that can happen out there even though it's, what, three miles to school or something," Lanier said.

The seat belts will be installed over the summer just in time for the new school year.

IMMI has planned an big event to unveil the seat belt design. It'll be held at their Westfield headquarters Friday morning.

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