Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Great Seat Belt Debate

Should seat belts be installed on school buses? Review the facts on School Transportation News and provide me with your feedback.

Historically, the primary reasons proponents have urged seat belts on large school buses include the following.

  • If a crash should occur, the use of seat belts will reduce the probability of death (and the severity of injuries) to children correctly seated in post-1977 buses.
  • Seat belt usage improves passenger behavior and reduces driver distractions;
  • Seat belts offer protection against injuries in rollover or side impact crashes;
  • Seat belt usage in school buses has a carryover effect to future use when riding in other vehicles;
  • The cost to install seat belts is nominal.

Meanwhile, opponents of 2-point seat belts in large school buses contend otherwise.

  • More children are killed in the danger zone around the school bus and as pedestrians walking to and from the school bus stop, than inside the school bus. Seat belts are of no value in these accidents;There is no data to show that seat belts would reduce fatalities or injuries;
  • Fatalities inside school buses represent a very small percent of all school bus fatalities;
  • Over the past two decades compartmentalization has demonstrated it works;
  • The carryover value is negligible, in fact there is no proof of carryover value;
  • Money proposed for seat belt installation would be better spent on other safety measures.

The bottom line, say opponents, is there are no data to show that a safety problem exists in school buses that would be solved by the installation of lap belts.

Read the complete article HERE.


im1ru2 said...

You know the one thing that none of the articles, studies or DOT talks about is setting and example. When we have kids put on a seat belt from Kindergarten, day one, on a School Bus all the way through high school, 12th grade we are TEACHING HER/HIM an example to put their restraint system on when they get in their own vehicle.

I bet you "a Billion Dollars" that not one kid knows what the compartmentalization system on a school bus means. All they know is they don't wear restraint systems. They figure they don't have to wear them on the bus; they don't need them in their car! Maybe Dad or Mom doesn't wear one, so when they drive, they won't wear one when they wear one either!

My point is maybe it is just a good penny spent to set a damn good example folks! Look around! Read the paper lately! We just have to take safety a little more seriously and maybe we ought to start with our school buses and show the kids we mean it. This is an issue that is not "conclusive" so let’s give the "seat belts" the benefit of the doubt and install the damn things! Hell, we're talking about putting in a multi-million dollar dome on a school we can't even afford but we'll sit around debating restraint systems for school buses and our kids!

The issues are deaths on schools buses are down and lower than "regular" vehicular deaths. Great. Compartmentalization is working and the height of the bus helps for head-on and rear-end crashes for deaths. However, injuries are another story and lap-belts just don't work and they do cause more harm then do good which is why they were taken out of all of our cars many years ago and replaced with the types of shoulder belts we all have now.

School Buses today must have restraints if they are less than 10,000 lbs. If they are hit on the side or roll-over the compartmentalization system goes out the window. Further, kids consistently leave the seats whenever the school bus hits a hole or other bump too fast often causing head injury.

We need restraint systems on our school buses. It sends the kids the right message from the beginning. "Click It or Ticket" "Buckle Up For Safety." "Seat Belts Save Lives."

Oh, but you don't need one on a school bus little jonny cause...

Jennifer Abell said...

Thanks for the informaiton. I recently posted this also, Still doing some additional research.