HOUSTON COUNTY, GA. - After a Houston County 6-year-old died following a bus wreck in late January, parents are pushing state legislators to consider a law for school bus safety.
Arlana Haynes was riding the bus home from her new school, Parkwood Elementary, when her bus went off the road and flipped.
Several children on board were injured, but Haynes was ejected from the bus and spent several hours in surgery before dying overnight despite the efforts of surgeons and first responders who tried to keep her alive.
In the two weeks since the fatal accident, there have been several other less severe bus accidents ranging from buses being rear-ended to buses rear-ending other vehicles.
At an emotional press conference last Thursday, Haynes' family thanked law enforcement for the help they gave their daughter and said they hoped Arlana's death would inspire conversation about school bus safety -- including whether young kids should wear seat belts while riding to and from school.
A petition calling for a 'Belt Our Babies' law surfaced around the same time, which calls upon state legislators to act as advocates for the safety of children who rely on buses to get to school.
The petition was started by Arlana's great aunt, Lilybell Simpson.
"If she had been belted in, I'm almost sure she wouldn't have been thrown through a window," says Simpson. "She possibly could've been saved."
The petition asks for a mandatory seat belt law and also requests mandatory monitors on school buses to ensure proper procedure and protocol is being followed.
"There's no quick fix, but there has to be a fix," says Simpson.
Since Simpson started the petition last week it's gained over 500 signatures. Some parents support Simpson, others took to social media-- disagreeing with the idea of mandatory seatbelts.
On our Facebook post, some people questioned if seatbelts would be dangerous in the event of a fire or a bus plunging into water.
But no matter how you feel about seatbelts on buses, this family is using the death of their loved one to possibly save another life.
If you're interested in signing the petition, click here. You do not have to be a resident of Georgia to sign.
At the beginning of February we spoke to State Senator, Larry Walker, who represents Houston County, and State Rep Shaw Blackmon, who say they would support seatbelts on school buses.
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