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NHTSA pushes for seat belts on school buses

Sixteen-year-old Ashley Brown's life ended on the way to a high school soccer game, when the bus she was riding in crashed.

Her father Brad Brown believes a seat belt would have saved her.

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Ashley Brown was killed in a school bus crash

Brown Family

"Not a day goes by that we don't think of her.Wounds are refreshed every time we see an accident happen that takes the life of another school child that could've been prevented with lap or shoulder belts on school buses and every motor coach."

Last month, a school bus flipped over in Virginia, injuring 28. It did not have seat belts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates four children die every year in large school bus crashes. The agency believes seat belts would cut that number in half.

"It's this big void in our safety system," said administrator Mark Rosekind. He is hoping change can come without new regulations, but currently just six states require seat belts on school buses.

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Six states require seat belts on school buses

CBS News

And they are expensive, costing between $7,000 and $10,000 per bus. With nearly half a million school buses in the United States, the cost to retro fit them all could go into the billions.

"Seat belts save lives, and it should be on every school bus for every kid," said Rosekind. "Let's start figuring out how to make that happen, not what the barriers are, but how to get those seat belts on every school bus."

Brown welcomes the renewed push for seat belts, but said it doesn't go far enough. "Stating it as policy is a good step. I think that what is needed is regulation and law."

Rosekind said pursuing a regulation requiring seat belts could take close to a decade.