In September of 2015, a school bus in Houston drove off an overpass and plunged 21 feet to the road below. Two children died and two others were seriously injured. None of the children on the bus were wearing seat belts. For the last decade or so, lawmakers in Texas have been fighting for seat belts on school buses, but no change has happened yet. In light of recent bus accidents, however, we might see action on this problem soon.
A state senator has proposed a bill requiring three-point seat belts (the kind you’re used to in your car) for all newly purchased school buses in the state of Texas. The senator says that seat belts in school buses would save lives and would help demonstrate consistency in what we teach our children about the importance of seat belts.
Do Seat Belts on School Buses Actually Help?
Statistics show that four to six children die in school bus crashes every year in the United States. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Safety Council, school bus seat belts are recommended to ensure the safety of children. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) disagrees. The cost of installing school bus seat belts, they argue, is too high for what would amount to a statistically insignificant increase in safety. School buses are already very safe due to their height and the compartmental design of the seats. Adding seat belts would not only decrease student capacity but in dangerous circumstances, like rollovers, submerging in water or fires, seat belts could do more harm than good.
What do you think?