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WOODMORE BUS CRASH

Chattanooga bus crash renews old conversation about seat belts on school buses

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Bus 366 is forever silent after Monday's crash ended the normal laughter of a holiday week on the school bus. 

It will be a long time before Woodmore students and faculty move on without five of their classmates. 

"You're not supposed to have elementary classrooms with empty desks," Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said. 

The crash renews old conversation of school bus safety. 

Representative Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) plans to write a bill that requires every bus to have seat belts. 

Haslam is calling for another look at the entire school bus process. 

"From how we hire drivers to the safety of the equipment to whether their seat belts on those buses," he said. 

Personal injury attorney Mark Warren wants to see seat belts added to all buses because he says the cost is too great. 

"The real cost is in the future when more children are hurt because of a traffic accident involving school buses," Warren said. 

He is starting an online petition called Belts on Buses

Safety organizations are split on the issue.

The National Safety Council supports the use of "lap and shoulder belts in school buses-- and across multiple modes of transportation-- to ensure the safest ride for children."

But in 2011 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration denied a request from the Center of Auto Safety to mandate three point seat belts in all school buses stating "We have not found a safety problem supporting a federal requirement for lap/shoulder on large school buses, which are already safe."

Leaving the decision to state and local jurisdictions. 

"People's opinions are starting to change obviously when you have rollover situations. I'm currently not an expert on that. I think what we can do is given where we are right now, what we should do going forward," Haslam said. 

Warren will send the petition to state representatives in January. 

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