Here is a question I ask all parents. Why do we have laws requiring us to buckle our seat belts in our cars, but there are no requirements for seat belts on school buses? Most school buses across the country are not equipped with safety belts. The cost of seat belts on buses would cost about a nickel a day over the life of the bus. Interestingly bus manufacturers claim that seat belts are not needed because of what they call compartmentalization. This is the theory that kids will be protected in an accident because their heads will hit the front of padded seat. Does that seem reasonable to you as a parent? Maybe if we required the manufacturers of the school buses to put their own kids on the bus every day they might change their mind.
My response to Compartmentalization is that it only works in frontal collisions. Frontal collisions only account for 1/3 of all bus accidents. So 2 out of 3 crashes with school buses provide no protection for our kids and then in case of rear collisions, side collisions, or rollovers, children are completely unprotected. Here is another way I like to think of the problem. Suppose someone asked you if they could punch your 6 year old child in the head. You would be astonished at such a request. You would be angry. You might want to punch the person who asked the question. Well, without school seat belts then every time there is a school bus accident and the children hit the front of the padded seat, it is like having someone punch your child in the forehead. That is not okay with me. Yet, it seems to be the argument with the manufacturers.
I know it might cost more to put seat belts in school buses. We live in some very economically tough times. But would you give up one coke a day or one Starbucks coffee a day or a pack of cigarettes, or any luxury item for the protection of your kids? If you do not have kids or your kids do not ride the school bus I still believe you should be interested in this issue. All kids need our protection, whether they are our kids, whether they are white, black, yellow or brown. Kids are our future. And I will leave you with one other statement on this issue that might right a bell. When I was little I remember a Bible passage from Jesus that went something like this: Whatever you do to the least of my people, you do to me. Our kids are the least of our people because they cannot protect themselves. They have to get on the bus. So, I hope you will bring this issue up with other concern parents. I notice when I Googled this topic there were organizations promoting these safety concerns. You may wish to research into one or more of these groups and join to start a movement around the Jackson Metro Area.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.