COLUMN: Seat Belts on School Buses?

COLUMN: Seat Belts on School Buses?

“Click it, or Ticket,” “Buckle Up,” “Seat belts everyone!”

All my life I have been told to buckle my seat belt. Countless times I have heard on the news of individuals getting into accidents and losing their lives due to lack of wearing a seat belt. Every morning, millions of children are boarding and trusting their school bus to get them to school and home safely. However, are they truly safe when riding the bus?

School, and all that it entails, is deemed to be a safe place for children. Parents trust the schools to keep their child safe and return them at the end of the day. However, are children truly safe while being transported to school? The lack of seat belts on school buses is growing to be a huge concern. We brand the message and importance of wearing a seat belt to our children, and yet every day when they go to school they are not wearing a seat belt.

Recently in the news there has been more and more reports of school buses getting into accidents across the country. Just recently five children were killed when their school bus lost control and hit a tree in Chattanooga, Tenn. Twenty-three students were injured and taken to the hospital. Five families had to be notified that the bus they trusted and put their child on killed them.

If those students were wearing seat belts, would the results be different? Would those young lives be saved and safe at home with their families today? The lack of seat belts on school buses is a growing concern and it needs to be addressed.

Many wonder if having seat belts on a bus would be hazardous in case of an emergency. For instance, if a bus were to be in an accident and the students needed to be escorted off immediately, would the seat belts be in the way? Would the children be able to unbuckle their seat belts in a frantic state of mind? Personally, I feel that dealing with an injury is better than dealing with a death.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that, on average, 134 people are killed each year involving a school bus, and 8 percent of those killed are children riding the bus.

I feel that number is way too high. If these school buses had seat belts, would those accounts still be the same, or would the death rate be much lower?

I believe that it is time for school buses to install seat belts nationwide. In today’s day and age, there are many reckless drivers and many incidents involving texting and driving. We need to take the situation into our own hands and create a change.

If we can prevent the loss of these young lives, why don’t we? The installation may be a costly value, but it is an investment in our children’s lives.

If I were a parent, I would do anything to protect the life of my child, including paying a tax that would enforce the installation of seat belts on all school buses across the country.

It’s time to ensure the safety of transporting our students to school. With the installation of seat belts, we could be saving hundreds of young lives.