Seatbelts On School Buses: Safer Or Not?

Seatbelts On School Buses: Safer Or Not?

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

Cover Image Credit: BRUCE GARNER

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I'm An 18-Year-Old Female And I Will Never Be A Feminist

Honestly, I'd rather be caught dead than caught calling myself a modern-day feminist.
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"A man told me to have a good day... I'm triggered." How ludicrous does that sound? Tune in because that is the extent of modern day feminism.

Sure, I think boys are stupid and that I'm probably better than 90% of the male population, but that doesn't make me a modern-day feminist. Now I believe that woman should stand up for themselves, and Golding's quote: "I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been," is by far one of my favorite quotes... but modern day feminism is not something I want to be associated with.

I'm all for "anything you can do I can do better," and "We can do it!" but realistically speaking in some situations, that isn't feasible. As an 18-year-old woman who works out regularly, and is stronger than the average female, I couldn't carry a 190-pound man back to a safe zone after he was shot on the front line of a war even if I tried. It is not anatomically possible for a grown woman to be as strong as a fully developed male.

Reality check: Men and women are not equal.

They are not physically equal, they are not mentally equal. Modern-day feminism is equality between the two genders, but corrupt and on steroids. I support what feminism used to be. I support women who work hard and have goals and ambition... not girls who hate men and stomp around with no shirts on to piss off the public. Feminism has developed into a polluted teaching that young men and women are plunging into.

We are built dissimilarly.

The human brain is literally an organ that is sex oriented. There is a cognitive difference, that singlehandedly destroys gender equality.

I will not spend my time running a revolution against anyone who likes Donald Trump. I am not going to binge watch Trump's twitter in an effort to start some leftist gob of drama. I refuse to be part of this head hunt to attack all Republicans on the newest Instagram post made about how feminism is stupid. I do not hate men, and society would crash and burn without the successful men and women who work together to create what we call the United States of America.

Why, you ask? Why are the 15-25 year olds of our society clinging to feminism? They are hopping on the rapidly growing bandwagon where all the hipsters, feminists and Trump haters reside. It's "cool" to hate Donald Trump. Twitter is a world of liberalism, hatred and fake love towards all. Social media is where this generation is living — and modern-day feminism brews there.

We need to keep separation in the household within roles.

We must raise our children to do what they are best at rather than trying to do something they are incapable of just to prove an irrelevant point.

Women must stand up for what they believe in and be strong in their shoes, while not getting so caught up in what your modern day feminist says she thinks is right.

We cannot let this briskly changing society sway us away from what is going to keep the world working precisely.

Cover Image Credit: Macey Joe Mullins

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To Fix Taxes, We Have To Rethink 'Wealthy'

"Wealthy" doesn't mean the same for everyone.

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When discussing taxes today, so many politicians are quick to rush to the adage "tax the rich." Bernie Sanders has called for the rich to be taxed higher to pay for Medicare for All. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for a 70% tax on the wealthy.

However, all of these proposals are missing a key thing: a true definition of rich.

When thinking about what counts as rich, it is important to distinguish between the "working wealthy" and the "investment wealthy."

The working wealthy are the people in society that get paid highly because they have a high skill set and provide an extremely valuable service that they deserve just compensation for. This class is made up of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. In addition, the working wealthy are characterized by another crucial aspect: over a long term calculation of their earned income over time, they don't come out as prosperous as their annual incomes would seem to suggest. This is because this set of the wealthy has to plunge into student debt for degrees that take years to acquire. These jobs generally also require a huge amount of time invested in lower-paying positions, apprenticeships, and internships before the big-money starts coming in.

On the other hand, the investment wealthy is completely different. These are the people that merely sit back and manipulate money without truly contributing to anything in society. A vast majority of this class is born into money and they use investments into stocks and bonds as well as tax loopholes to generate their money without actually contributing much to society as a whole.

What makes the investment wealthy so different from the working wealthy is their ability to use manipulative techniques to avoid paying taxes. While the working wealthy are rich, they do not have AS many resources or connections to manipulate tax laws the way that the investment wealthy can. The investment wealthy has access to overseas banking accounts to wash money though. The investment wealthy can afford lawyers to comb over tax laws and find loopholes for ridiculous prices. This is tax evasion that the working wealthy simply does not have access to.

That is why it is so incredibly important to make sure that we distinguish between the two when discussing tax policy. When we use blanket statements like "tax the rich," we forget the real reasons that the investment wealthy are able to pay such low taxes now. Imposing a larger marginal tax rate will only give them more incentive to move around taxes while squeezing the working wealthy even more.

Because of this, in our taxation discourse, we need to focus first on making sure people pay their taxes, to begin with. Things like a tax of Wall Street speculation, capital gains taxes, a closing of loopholes, and a simplification of the tax code. These things will have a marked improvement in making sure that the investment wealthy actually pays the taxes we already expect of them now. If we stick to the same message, the only thing we will be changing is the rate that the uber-wealthy are avoiding.

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