School Bus Seat Belt Debate After Children Injured and Killed in School Bus Accident
Frank J. Dito, Jr.
On Augst 5, 2010 a school bus accident resulted in the death of two children and injuries to dozens of other children on their way to an amusement park. The two Missouri school buses were packed with students and were involved in a deadly highway crash. This ads to the many other school bus accidents that happen nationwide including the school bus accidents in New York this year.
The recent school bus accident has brought up a long discussed debate of whether or not seat belts should be installed on school buses around the nation.
When you consider how long it has been since the invention of seat belts and the fact the school buses carry children that range from preschool age to teenagers you would automatically think that school buses would have seat belts installed by now but seat belts have not been made a requirement, but why? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seat belts are not required on school buses because they are considered to naturally already have a lower accident rate than cars. In their opinion, making it safer for a child to travel to school on a school bus with no seat belt instead of traveling in a car with a seat belt to school but others, such as the National Coalition for School Bus Safety, have a different opinion on the matter. According to a representative from the National Coalition for School Bus Safety the numbers that the NHTSA go by are out-dated and inaccurate and argue that school buses should have seat belts installed.
While there are many arguments that go into this debate including seating space and finances to add seat belts one thing that is not debatable is that seat belts would not make school buses less safe but rather would increase safety. If you are involved in a bus accident, especially as a small child not wearing a seat belt, you can be thrown from side to side, front to back, and even out of the seat into the isle. A seat belt would only ensure that a child's movement is restricted and will limit the injuries associated with school bus accidents. This will or course not completely rid children of the possibility or injuries or death when involved in school bus accidents but will rather lower the chances of injury and death similar to wearing a seat belt in a car.
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