Seatbelts On School Buses: Safer Or Not?
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Seatbelts On School Buses: Safer Or Not?

Could seatbelts save the lives of children or would it just hinder them in an accident?

68
Seatbelts On School Buses: Safer Or Not?
BRUCE GARNER

There have been two school bus accidents in the state of Tennessee in less than two weeks. The first accident was in Chattanooga on November 21, 2016. Bus driver Johnthony Walker, 24, has been charged with several counts including vehicular homicide and reckless driving. Six children died as a result of the crash all between the ages of six and ten. Then on December 30, 2016 in Metro Nashville, Shirley Brown, 59, lost control of the bus she was driving and hit two vehicles. Fortunately, there were no fatalities, but five children and one adult from the car she hit were transported to a local hospital. Now one question that keeps popping up over and over again is whether or not school buses should be required to have seat belts?

Several organizations have done research on the issue, as this has been a question going back several years, maybe even decades. CNN reported that The National Transportation Safety Board says that it takes more than seatbelts to prevent injuries. The bus drivers are trained to take extra precautions when it comes to school bus safety, including making sure the children all stay seated. The buses are required to pass certain tests and protocols to even be on the streets. And with recent years, most buses have been equipped to have two cameras, one in the front of the bus and one in the back of the bus. These cameras can help with future accidents.

When asked about whether or not school buses should be required to have seat belts, many members of the Murfreesboro and surrounding communities had a lot to say. Surprisingly it wasn’t a one answer fits all scenario, but rather a multitude of answers from both parents and non-parents alike. One parent, Caitlin Clark of Murfreesboro, said that she is “against them only because there is typically only one adult, the driver, and if something happens to the adult, the kids might be trapped if they cannot unbuckle themselves. If there was a fire, that could end up being a terrible tragedy.”

While that is a major concern for most people who are against seat belts, another parent in the community, Eva Hunter, suggests that the buses have “one single belt across the seat for maybe the first half or part of the bus where small kids are who aren’t developed enough to try and stop themselves from flying or jarring their bodies… also an emergency seat belt release in case of emergency.”

One bus driver for Rutherford County, who wishes to remain anonymous, also said she was against seat belts too. Her main concern is the time it would take to get all the children off the bus in the event there was an accident. Her bus can hold 90 children at capacity, yet the bus can burn up in two minutes. “Also if I was driving a bus with seat belts, I would feel like I have 90 something weapons behind me. They can choke each other and hit each other.”

Speaking of trying to get everyone out of their seatbelts in the event of an accident, it took rescuers several hours to get all of the children off the Chattanooga bus accident in November. Those children didn’t have seat belts and most were elementary school aged. A lot of the children couldn’t even tell you the names of their parents and probably couldn’t have unbuckled themselves if need be.

For every person not in favor of seat belts, you’ll find another person in favor. Lindsey Van Why of Ashland City, TN is one parent in favor of them. “I am 100 percent for seat belts on school buses. Elementary age students, especially, are so small… we are seeing more and more of these crashes due to, in my opinion, the growing list of objects that are easily distracting drivers.”

Another person in favor of seat belts is Theresa Mills of Jackson, TN. Her issues go beyond requiring seat belts though. When asked if she supported buses having seatbelts, she said, “Yes, as long as they aren’t sitting three two a seat, which is what often happens. Overcrowding is a giant issue and probably a larger safety concern than seat belts.” It turns out that overcrowding on school buses in Tennessee isn’t against regulations as long as it doesn’t exceed 20 percent of the manufacturer’s rated capacity. Many states follow the same rule including Georgia, Alabama and Texas.

For parents with children riding buses on a daily basis, rest easy. USA Today reported last year that fatal school bus accidents are rare. “From 2004 to 2013, U.S. drivers were involved in 340,039 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of those, 1,214, or just 4 percent, were classified as “school-transportation-related…”. Once averaged out, it shows that only six students per year are killed in a school bus related accident across the US. Odds are in your favor to let your kids ride the bus.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
What College Girls Remember from their Summers as a Kid

Yes, summer is almost here.. so what should we remember

Keep Reading... Show less
The 100 Things Millennials have ruined: A Comprehensive List
http://www.factandmyth.com/the-middle-class/are-mi...

Millennials: the generation everyone loves to hate. The babies of 1980 to 1995 take a lot of heat. I mean, we inherited a crashed economy, earn stagnant wages, live with crippling student loan debt, and try to enact change in a rigged system but our affinity for avocado toast and use of technology has wrecked society as we know it! As a tail end millennial, I wanted to know what I was ruining and, like any other annoying millennial would, I did some research. I scoured the internet, read online newspapers and scrolled through every listicle I could find. So, in case you needed another reason to resent the millennial in your life, here are the 100 industries we've killed, things we've ruined or concepts we've destroyed.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Anxiety Doesn't Discriminate

This month, Odyssey brings about awareness & normality to conversations around mental health from our community.

9524
Anxiety Doesn't Discriminate

It's no secret that even in 2018 our country still struggles with discrimination of all kinds. Society labels individuals by the color of their skin, heritage, religion, sexuality, gender, size, and political beliefs. You are either privileged or you're not. However, here's the thing, anxiety doesn't care about your privilege. Anxiety doesn't discriminate.

Keep Reading... Show less
College Boy Charm is Real and it's Very Sexy
Disney

After surviving a year of college and watching "Clueless" countless times, I've come to the conclusion that college boy charm is very much a real thing and it's very very attractive. It's easiest explained through Paul Rudd's character, Josh, in "Clueless". The boy who has a grip on his life and is totally charming. In this article, I will list the qualities of a specimen with College Boy Charm, to help you identify him at your next party or other social events.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Tik Tok Stars: Worth the Hype? or Overrated?

As Tik-Tokers rise to fame, do their 'copy-cat' dances deserve the clout?

6937
Tik Tok Stars: Worth the Hype? or Overrated?
https://pixabay.com/photos/tiktok-social-media-app-tik-tok-5323007/

Oh, the wonders of social media. Trends come and go just as quick as a story on Instagram, everyone posting for their shot at fifteen minutes of fame, and the ever growing following of a new type of celebrity- social media influencers and content creators. Everyone who owns a smartphone probably has Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and now Tik-Tok, as it's growing to be a major social media platform for teenagers and young adults. Tik Tok became popular in the United States in late 2019 and since then has grown a considerable amount. Personally, I was one to make fun of Tik-Tok and say it was a dumb app like Musical.ly or Triller, and now months later, I spend more time on it than I do on Instagram.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments