It is our position a phase-in approach should be used for new school buses to be equipped with lap/shoulder seat belt restraints. The recent death of a 5-year-old Indianapolis girl as a result of a school bus accident begs the question once again: Why do school buses not have seat belts?
The rationale that, in the event of an accident, it is safer for a child to bounce from seat to seat than be restrained with a safety belt, defies logic.
Even the nation’s highest authority on children’s health, the American Academy of Pediatrics has had a long-standing position that new school buses should have safety restraints.
The barrier seems to be expensed at estimations up to $10,000 per bus, especially in a downward economy where many school systems are scrambling for funding.
Can school systems afford to attach a price tag to the safety of our precious cargo? Absolutely. Some school districts with school bus safety restraint laws have even seen an improvement in behavior and fewer distractions for the bus driver.
Will seat belts on school buses actually keep our children safer? Would the children actually comply? We‘ll never know until we try.