AUSTIN - After a deadly school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Monday, some are wondering how safe our school buses are in Central Texas.
During the 2015-2016 school year, there were 2,031 buses involved in crashes in the State of Texas, with 23,318 students on those busses. 442 students were injured and two deaths were reported from those crashes.
Twenty-one of those crashes involved Austin ISD busses. No students were injured in those 21 crashes, and all the buses had either lap belts or 3-point seat belts like you may find in a passenger car.
Just last year, AISD told KVUE they're working to put more of those 3-point belts on their buses. At the time, 180 of the district's 520 buses had the three-point seat belts.
According to the Texas Education Agency, state law requires districts to buy buses with seatbelts when state funding is available. Right now, a representative said there is no funding, but said districts can buy the seatbelts with their own money.
In Round Rock ISD during the 2015-2016 school year, 16 buses were involved in accidents with no injuries. Three of the busses had lap seat belts. In Leander ISD over the same time period, 37 busses were involved in accidents with no injuries. GO HERE to look up your district's information from the TEA.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said school buses are safer than passenger vehicles, because of things like reinforced sides and crush standards.
What about the bus drivers?
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, to become a bus driver in Central Texas, you have to pass a 20-hour course from DPS, and take a refresher course every three years. Drivers also go through random drug testing.
They said background checks are not required, but many districts do them anyway.
DPS also said it is illegal to pass any school bus that is stopped with its stop sign out. If you violate the law, you could face a fine of $500 to $1,200 dollars.
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