Bus Safety

English 111

Bus Safety

Should school buses be forced to install seat belts on all school buses? There are many sides to this debate. Illinois state law requires all occupants of passenger vehicles to wear a seatbelt, (http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/062500050k12-603.1.htm). The law could be simplified if everyone that rides in a passenger vehicle, public transportation, or school bus has to wear a seat belt. There are a few reasons that others seem to use as justification as to why they should not have school age children wear some type of safety restraint.

Joseph Harkness of the Elmwood School District #322 Bus Supervisor states buses are able to withstand being dropped from a crane onto their top and not cave in. This is due to the individual row bars that are placed over each compartment in the roof and in between each window. The front of the bus is designed to withstand the impact from an accident with minimal damage and has higher ground clearance than cars. The sides are made of reinforced forged steel plating. Buses can withstand an impact from a semi-truck up to forty-five miles per hour without any fatalities. The bus seats and designed to absorb energy and generally have about four inches of padding in the closely spaced seats. The seats have been raised up to twenty-four inches in height in order to create compartmentalization.

There have been 1,409 school bus related fatalities in the U.S since 1988. Only 10% were school bus occupants (2% driver and 8% passengers). Studies show that the lap shoulder belt combination seems to be the most effective in protecting students in a crash in a car and on buses. This stops larger occupants from overriding the seat back. Currently, the school bus driver and any special needs child are the only persons mandated to wear seat belts on school buses, (www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NRD/Multimedia/PDFs/VRTC/cw/BUS_GIJune2000a.pdf).