Taking the big, yellow bus to school has long been touted as the best way to keep our children safe. But is it? When a minor school bus accident results in a head injury the debate over the need for seat belts on school buses is on again.
Taking the big, yellow bus to school has long been touted as the best way to keep our children safe. But is it? Read the well-researched article at cantonrep.com to help answer this question.
When a minor school bus accident results in a head injury the debate over the need for seat belts on school buses is on again. Where do you stand?
From the article:
Ricky Spriggs II, a McKinley High School freshman, said he still has a headache after being involved in a minor Canton City Schools bus accident Tuesday. He was released from Mercy Medical Center on Wednesday.
Cynthia Walker is left wondering if buses are as safe as the experts claim after her son was involved in an accident while riding a Canton City School District bus this week.
National and state studies show children are safer on buses than traveling in cars. School officials say children are safe, too, and serious bus crashes are very rare. But at least one U.S. congressman thinks otherwise, and has proposed legislation that would make safety belts a requirement on school buses.
Walkerâ€™s 15-year-old son, Ricky Spriggs II, was taken to Mercy Medical Center by his father just hours after a bus accident. After a CAT scan revealed the McKinley High School freshman had a possible brain injury, he was admitted to the hospital, his mother said.
She believes her sonâ€™s injuries could have been prevented if there were safety belts on the bus.
â€œIâ€™m worried about the safety of our kids,â€ Walker said. â€œHow is it mandatory that we have to wear seat belts in our cars, but a bus full of vulnerable children (donâ€™t)? How is the safety in my car more important than the safety of children on the school bus?â€
The districtâ€™s transportation officials contend students are safer on buses, than traveling in cars. There are state and national statistics to support their notions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports less than 15 students are killed in school bus accidents during any given year. More than 8,000 children and teens die as passengers, or drivers, in other motor vehicles, the federal agency points out.
Studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and the National Academy of Sciences show safety belts on buses would provide little, if any, added protection in a crash. Instead, buses are â€œcompartmentalizedâ€ â€” meaning bus seats have high backs, and are close together to protect children in case of impact or sudden stops.
Six states require safety belts on school buses, including California, which was the first state to require a three-point safety belt, like the restraint in your car, according to Congressman Rep. Joe Baca, a Democrat. The remaining states use the compartmentalization method.
A 1999 report by the National Transportation Safety Board found that compartmentalization does not always protect passengers from crashes, such as rollovers, because passengers do not always remain in their seats.
â€œ(In May), 23 children were injured in a bus crash in Missouri. Video from another accident in 2003 in Ohio shows 30 children literally falling out of their seats and being thrown against the other side of the bus. How can we say that our school buses are safe?â€ said Baca in a prepared statement. â€œWe cannot wait for another tragedy to occur.â€
Baca has proposed the â€œSave Every Child Using Restraints Act of 2005,â€ or SECURE Act. If it becomes a law, it would require school buses to have safety belts, based on standards developed by the Secretary of Transportation.
The article provides the following statistics and facts:
— Approximately 54 percent of all K-12 students in the country ride school buses.
— Every year, roughly 450,000 public school buses travel about 4.3 billion miles to transport 23.5 million children to and from school and school-related activities.
— Since 1984, an average of 11 passengers per year have died in school bus crashes. To put that in perspective, in 1995, 12 bus riders died in crashes. During the same year, 8,168 children between the ages of 5 and 20 died as passengers or drivers in all other types of motor vehicles.
— In 2004, there were 2,067 crashes involving buses in Ohio, three of those crashes resulted in motorist fatalities.
— In May, 23 children were injured in a bus crash in Missouri.
— Video from an accident in Ohio in 2003 shows 30 children falling out of their seats and being thrown against the side of a bus on impact.
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and U.S. Congressman Joe Baca, (D-Rialto, Calif.)