9 NC school buses now have seat belts as pilot program gets underway

DURHAM, N.C. — Durham Public Schools are working to keep your kids safer this school year by adding seat belts to several of the buses within its fleet.

Nine new school buses with the Durham fleet have seat belts this year.

“I don’t have to worry about as much chaos because they’re in their seats,” said William Wrene.

Wrene is a school bus driver for Durham Schools. He’s been driving Durham buses for 16 years.

Wrene is one of nine drivers with the new buses this year. He says it’s made his job much easier because he can focus on the road, instead of kids moving through the bus.

“That’s where the big safety improvement comes. The kids have to be safety being seated all the time, and the driver has safety keeping his eyes on the road,” said Scott Denton.

Denton is the assistant superintendent for Durham Public Schools.

He says the seat belt pilot program does not directly cost the school anything. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provided the school with nine new buses with seat belts.

If the program is successful, and Denton says early reports say it is, the goal is to eventually replace the entire bus fleet with the belted buses.

“All the lives are precious to us we want to make sure we’re giving the drivers the best chance to be safe, and the students the best chance to be safe,” said Denton.

Parents say they’re happy their kids now have the same safety features in school buses they have in the back seats of their cars.

We asked Wake County and Cumberland County Schools if they have any plans to introduce seat belts to their buses

Wake school officials say they do not and Cumberland County officials have not gotten back to us.