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Sen Robert Hilkemann pushing seat belts on buses

Posted at 5:48 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 18:48:19-05

The tragedy in Tennessee has pushed the issue of seat belts on school buses to the forefront.

Here in Nebraska there is a lawmaker who has been pushing for that for years.

Senator Robert Hilkemann says after Monday’s tragedy he'll use this time to bring more attention to the topic.

"Anything we can do to prevent the loss of life and help keep the people safe I think that's something we ought to do," Hilkemann said.

Senator Hilkemann says he's been passionate about this topic for a long time and the tragedy in Chattanooga Tennessee reinforces it.

"I always tell people buses are the safest way to get to school but we can make them even safer by adding the restraint system," Hilkemann said.

Some parents are at odds about the type of stress seatbelts on a bus could potentially have on the driver.

"He has no authority over the kids; he has limited ability to walk up and down the aisle finding out if the kids are actually buckled up or not."

While other parents say adding buses with seatbelt is a definite plus.

"I have a grandson who rides the school bus and not only does it keep him sitting in his seat safely, but they will get up and walk around which isn't safe either."

Senator Hilkemann says it could be a seven to ten percent cost to get new buses equipped with seatbelts, which may be why the bill has failed to pass four times.

"It's another cost to the school district and I am sensitive to that, but we are also talking about safety of children," Hilkemann said.

But he says he's hopeful within the next ten to 15 years every child will be strapped in a seatbelt while riding to and from school.

"If we want to do it we will find the funding available for it," Hilkemann said. The senator plans to introduce the bill in front of legislation again next year.