Hays CISD approves new bus safety plan after deadly crash

Hays CISD has a new safety plan in place to make sure all of its school buses have seatbelts. This comes after a district bus with no seatbelts was hit by a concrete truck.

District parents and staff attended a board meeting on Monday.

"I wanted to come out today and show my strong support of the board adopting the district's recommended plan," said parent Megan Owen.

The plan follows the deadly crash in March that killed a preschooler, a UT Austin graduate student and injured dozens of others after being hit by a concrete truck. The bus involved in the crash was a 2011 model with no seatbelts. It was purchased before the new state-mandate on school buses requiring seatbelts.

"I have been completely devastated by the deadly bus crash, and I was horrified when I learned that the bus didn't have seatbelts along with a bunch of other Hays CISD buses that don't have seatbelts," says Owen.

"We obviously had concerns after the wreck. A lot of parents were surprised to hear that there weren't seatbelts on some of the buses. We have been in compliance with what is required of us, but a lot of people didn't know that the law changed in 2017," said Hays CISD Chief Communications Officer Tim Savoy.


The district says it has purchased 21 new buses with seatbelts, and they're expected to arrive this month.

"We have some more buses that we ordered in August. They'll be coming in hopefully this summer. It takes about, believe it or not, a year to get a school bus. We have got some that we are going to retro fit. Hopefully there will be 13 buses that will be faster," says Savoy.

In the meantime, buses without seatbelts will still be used. As newer buses are put into service, buses without seatbelts will be taken out.

"It is the fastest, safest, most cost-effective way to get a larger portion of their fleet revamped with seatbelts in a timely manner," says Owen.

The district says there were some safety concerns when it came to adding seatbelts to the fleet.

"That is if the bus catches on fire or if the bus is submerged in water somehow and the kids can't get out, that is a good argument in Texas for us because the law has changed," says Savoy.

According to the district, there are currently more than 100 buses in the fleet. The district will need close to $5 million in bond funding for all buses to have seatbelts.