1. #1
    Barbara Lang
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Seat Belts on School Buses

    My daughter was involved in a bus wreck in N.C. 4 years ago. I was on the scene and witnessed the injuries and chois. I began researching why there are no belts on our buses in the USA. I still don't have a good answer. I am appealing to you all because you actually see first hand what happens to an unbelted child in a wreck. The National PTA passed a resolution supporting the issue in 1998 and the Academy of Pediatrics is a supporter among many other medical groups and child advocate groups. New York,New Jersey and now Florida have passed bills that require seat belts on all buses. They report little problems in getting the kids to wear the belts. As an added bonus discipline has improved. Children must stay in their seats which keeps them safer and out of trouble. N.C. has a bill which has made it to a study committee. This keeps the bill alive for the next session. I am trying to get support from groups such as ones you may be involved in. Please let me know if anyone can offer a letter of support, the more groups represented the better. Thank you for your time. Our children deserve to be protected on the journey to school.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Greetings from Canada

    I'm with you 150% I don't let my kids ride school busses for that exact reason. How can I tell them to always belt up except on the bus?

    I have another issue i've fought with officials over. The drivers here do not practice evacuation drills on school busses. Fire or other emergencies may require immediate orderly evacuation. There is no hope of this if it hasn't been practiced.

    Anyway, good luck in your fight.


  3. #3
    David Brach
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We as firefighters need to band together to get seat belts on school busses. I canít imagine why any parent would let their children on any moving vehicle without restraints. The people against seat belts use the same arguments that were used against seat belts in cars. They say children couldnít get out fast enough in a fire or if the bus sank in water. Any parent knows how fast a child can get a seat belt unfastened. Even hitting the water would stop the bus abruptly enough to cause injuries if no seat belts are used. If a bus catches on fire, it is normally after a wreck. I would want my child seat belted, so they wonít be knocked unconscious and unable to escape the fire.
    Other people state seat belts can be used as weapons. So can books, pens, pencils and just about anything else children carry to school. Should we outlaw books? I believe that if fighting on the bus is a problem, seat belts will help keep the kids in their seats and under control which will in turn help keep the bus driver from being distracted.
    As far as a bus rollover is concerned, I hope I never see a rollover where seat belts are not used. I would much rather see the children dangling in the air than see them thrown from the bus.
    The cost effectiveness can be figured as follows. How much is your childís life worth? Mine is worth the price. More states are starting to require seat belts on busses because they have proven effective. If more concerned parents speak up, all states soon will have seat belts on busses. Please fight to require the use of seat belts. Getting them installed on busses is only half the battle.
    Check out these web sites on the topic. http://www.schoolbusfleet.com/ http://www.stnonline.com/
    Lt. David Brach
    Prue Fire Dept.
    Prue, OK 74060

  4. #4
    Drew Smith
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'm all for seatbelts in buses too. I think you send a mixed message to kids when you say buckle up and then don't have seat belts on the bus. But here are some issues/comments I have received in the past:
    1. Seat spacing and high backs are designed so the whole child slides forward into the seat in front of him or her allegedly absorbing the impact force.
    2. A lap-only belt increases the likelyhood of head and neck injuries because the waist is held in place and the head moves forward striking the seat in in front. With this argument goes my first point of X-force hitting the seat through the whole body or just the head.
    3. For a standard 3-point belt (lap and shoulder) a high point is needed. The seat against the window is fine but the aisle seat needs some reinforcement.

    All of this can be achieved and overcome, but at what cost and what about the buses already on the road? Simply saying "do it" won't get it done-solutions that work are needed. And no one has a big money tree to simply spend, spend, spend.

    An engineered solution that is attainable through legislation is what is needed.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest



    I am sorry for your daughter's involvement in a bus crash, I hope she didn't get injured too badly. Maybe I am familiar with the crash.

    I am from a high school in NC, and I am still able to ride the bus if I have to, but I drive. Here are just some of my thoughts.

    Most school buses are so crowded-the max capacity for high school is 40...currently we have almost 60 on each bus.

    If you told us to wear seat belts, I doubt we would. Don't get me wrong...I am a firm believer in the use of seatbelts, and I tell everyone riding with me to put them on.

    Discipline on a schoolbus isn't as cracked up as they say it is. We still have kids that fight and stand up...once it is happening, you can't stop it. And now they have instructed the bus drivers to stay seated when a fight is going on...and any student who tries to break up the fight is punished as well as the original offenders. All they can do is pull off the road and hope a trooper stops by, and then report the students at the time of school arrival.

    They do teach the proper way of exiting the bus in an emergency, but I can remember that was way back in elementary school. And, not every crash is the same. Now we have side door as well as window exits, and roof exits also.

    Buses in crashes are one of two things...they are either just scratched, or they are totaled. Seat belts could go either way as well...they could either restrain the student from getting up instantly to avoid a serious injury from an accident, or they could aid in restraint to avoid bodily injury (with a shoulder & lap combination).

    Like I said, these are just my opinions, coming from a teenager who could still possibly ride the bus.


    Be safe and Godspeed.


    [This message has been edited by kiddo (edited August 26, 1999).]

  6. #6
    The Snake Man
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Ok let me see if I can explain in my Adam Sandler kind of way!


    This is not rocket science. Why cant people see that there children are ridding busses unprotected. I have to agree with the above and think that it is a worthy cause.

    Let me know how I can help!

    The Snake Man!
    Keep it above the water line!

  7. #7
    Brian Johnson
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Wow, I can't believe I heard fire fighters supporting un-belted passengers in this forum! We have all been there whether it was a school bus or a simple passenger car:


    If, as Kiddo said, the kids won't stay in their belts then they are kicked off the bus. Why would we even argue this point?

    Drew mentioned that we don't have a money tree to spend, spend, spend. While a good point. I have to ask; Drew, how much is your child worth?

    The solutions are attainable and the excuses are all poor. Let's get onboard with this and see what changes can be made.



  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I'm for seatbelts also. In a school bus extrication class, a leading manufacturer of school buses stated that there has never been a death to a person riding their bus IF the person remained in the bus. This sounds like we need to restrain them in the seats versus having them ejected where death has occurred.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Please see the article on this web site about the National Transportation Safety Board's findings about seat belts in buses. While common sense tells you the seat belts are the way to go, the NTSB's intial testing found that may not be the case. The testing is just preliminary. For more information on the subject, check the NTSB's web page at www.ntsb.gov.

  10. #10
    Brian Johnson
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I saw the article from the NTSB. But let's not forget that while the primary purpose of NTSB is for our safety they are a political entity and as such will be influenced by the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR!!!!!



  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I am a fire fighter and my wife is ems and we are both infavor of seat belts on buses.
    I am not going to get into why because most of the points have already been coverd.
    But I would like to make a comment to kiddo,
    You said most high schoolers wouldnt wear thier seat belts even if you were told to.
    I bet they would if the school board told them that if they where caught not wearing there seat belts on the bus they would not be eligable to take drivers education classes, which means no drivers license until there eighteen.
    Think about it, if you cant be responsible enough to follow the rules and wear your seat belts for the thirty or so minutes that you are on the bus you are definitely not responsible enough to be behind the wheel of a car.
    I am in no way accusing you personaly of such things. I am just refuring to the "In general" students that you refered to.

    Would like us to forward our letters to you?

    Niederwald Fire Rescue
    Niederwald, Tx.


  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I hope some of the people that dont think seat belts shoud be on school buses were watching the news a couple of days ago. A school bus in ohio went off the road flipping over, 40 childern were hurt. Thank god none of them were killed.



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