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Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Salty, Mar 21, 2010.
From the Parade magazine
It's another government intrusion, but one that is already entrenched.
In line with that, Since the government can and does require the wearing of seat belts for adults and safe chairs for children in our own individual automobiles, there is no reason not to require our school districts to be as careful with the safety of our children as we are.
Having them and actually getting the kids (especially teens) to wear them are two different things. Kids of all ages usually do just the opposite of what they're told to do. However, I think it is a good idea.
I once was ready to go all out in order to get a state to get seat belts installed in buses that carried preschoolers. While doing the research, I realized I needed to go all out in order to have them PREVENTED!
In the majority of problems involving school buses, the kids get a big shove forward. The high backed seats actually help to PREVENT injuries in these accidents. Seat belts would most likely lead to numerous injuries that would involve internal damage and neck injuries. It's much safer for a kid to fly a very short distance forward and land against a big, cushioned back seat than to be held stiffly in place by a tight belt across the soft, lower portion of their guts, which will also cause their necks to snap forward and then back.
In cars, kids should be in booster seats and other age appropriate restraints as there aren't big cushioned seats and they are practically surrounded by glass. A body isn't going to be treated the same in a car accident as a bus accident...or a tractor accident, or a motorcycle accident!
This is a big issue in Connecticut right now, about 2 months ago a school bus carrying teens to a robotic competition collided with another vehicle and ran off the road on an overpass. The bus fell about 20-30 feet and a 16 year old boy was killed and several others injured seriously. Since then it has been in the news and looks like legislation is going to be passed to require seatbelts.
I don't know if it is a good idea or not, when I was in the first grade my school bus caught fire and we had to evacuate out the back of the bus. So, in some situations seatbelts might create more risk than it solves.
New School year
any new thoughts?
Years ago when I'd wondered about this topic, I read that seat belts on a bus were a safety issue because of the damage that one child could do to the other with one. Well that was a place my mind hadn't dared to venture. I'd been teaching a while by then and unfortunately could picture some kid, somewhere using them as weapons.
I have also read where it is more dangerous for a bus to have them, than not.
No, and here's why.
Lap belts by themselves cause lots of injuries, and are a litigous mess. Yes, they can prevent death--but they often cause whiplash-type injuries. Of course, folks sue over this, rates go up--so it's likely a wash here (at best)
Thus, full harnessess will be needed.
This has two effects:
1. Prohibitive cost. Retro-fitting simply isn't feasible. Thousands are added to the new bus cost if they are put in. (think about how many seats in a school bus!)
2. It will prohibit injuries, but it will cause more discipline problems. The higher-backed seats necessary to frame a harness means the driver/chaperone will have no clear line of sight of the students. You'll see an explosion in sexual assaults, thefts, and bullying. It might save a dozen lives (school buses are extrordinarily safe, statistically), but it will ruin more than that.
I'm fine with some of the recent standards. The new "buffer bars" that prevent kids from crossing within 5 feet of a bus (thus in the driver's blind spot)--go for it.
This, not so much.
Most School Buses built today have padding strategically placed around all the seats to limit impact injuries.
But, this doesn't help if you're launched entirely out of the seat!
Most bus accidents do not fall 20-30 feet. But, many do involve ending up on their sides.
In either case only a full harness would help because of the flailing about while strapped only at the lap.
Getting kids to wear them is also an issue.
And, without cameras to penalize the students that make the bus late... While waiting for the resistant ones to buckle up..
What can you do?
I suppose a school bus version of Signal-30 and similare films would help get the idea across...
But, how many parents want their younger children to see the aftermath of fatal collisions?
According to this report, only 24 children die a year in school bus collisions.
And here is some info on School bus deaths from the National Safety Council (pdf file)
Bottom line - we want perfection - will never happen
I guess that's not so bad...
*UNLESS* it's *YOUR* Child...
I *HATE* Statistics!
But the rest of the stats are that possibly more children would have died if they were wearing seat belts on a bus - and more would be injured.
Even if seat belts were installed in buses, kids wouldn't use them. You can't even get them to sit down. You would need an adult monitor on the bus to make sure they used them. Of course, kids today have no fear of or respect for adults.