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Seat belts required on new Iowa school district buses

Starting this fall, Iowa school districts are required to have seat belts on all new buses, adding an additional $8,000 to the cost of a school bus purchase.

The Iowa State Board of Education unanimously adopted new rules calling for standard lap-shoulder seat belts on school buses bought by the districts this year. The rules also mandate each bus includes an additional stop arm, hand rails, exterior boarding lights and fire-resistant crash barriers between the front bus seat and the bus driver.

A new school bus ranges from $90,000 to $100,000, but seat belts add an additional $8,000 to that cost, according to a statement from the board of education. School districts will not be required to retrofit older buses they already own.

In Iowa, school districts use a levy or their general funds to buy new school buses, according to the statement.

The rules take effect on Oct. 2 and "new" school buses are considered as those made on or after that date.

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