The Eclipse

Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

Only+six+states+require+school+buses+to+have+seat+belts.+Michigan+is+not+one+of+them.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

Only six states require school buses to have seat belts. Michigan is not one of them.

Only six states require school buses to have seat belts. Michigan is not one of them.

IMAGE / Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Only six states require school buses to have seat belts. Michigan is not one of them.

IMAGE / Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

IMAGE / Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Only six states require school buses to have seat belts. Michigan is not one of them.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






On Nov. 22 a fatal school bus accident happened in Chattanooga, Tenn., resulting in five students’ deaths.

In the past, there has been a debate on whether or not seat belts should be required on school buses, and this accident has pushed the debate to the forefront again.

Right now only six states require seat belts on school buses: California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.

Some sources say seat belts would not make school buses any safer.

In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took this debate into consideration. Administration economists and engineers found that school buses are already safe, and requiring seat belts would only add more child fatalities each year.

In addition, the NHTSA has reported that only 4 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities between 2004 and 2013 were related to school transportation. On average, about 130 people  die each year in a school-vehicle-related crash.  But only 8 percent of those who died were riding in a bus.

According to the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, installing seat belts on buses in the state of Michigan would require a change in the law.

A seat belt is of no benefit unless properly used. Each (school bus) driver would be responsible to ensure seat belts are properly used and each passenger is properly belted.”

— Sgt. Mike McLaughlin, Michigan State Police

Sgt. Mike McLaughlin, Michigan State Police, said that with costs like $7,500 to $10,000 to equip each bus it might be hard for some schools to keep up.

McLaughlin said, aside from the cost, the changes of seat belts would require additional adult supervision, someone to make sure the seat belts are being used correctly, and that all passengers are using them.

“A seat belt is of no benefit unless properly used,” McLaughlin said. “Each (school bus) driver would be responsible to ensure seat belts are properly used and each passenger is properly belted.

“In some cases, it may require additional adult supervision be added to ensure seat belts are properly used.  In the event of a crash, the driver would be responsible to make sure passengers are released from the confines of the seat belt assembly to exit the bus.”

Junior Alanna Montgomery has ridden the school bus since kindergarten.

She said seat belts should not be a requirement on school buses, that they would be a hassle, and people on the bus would just abuse the belts anyway.

In addition, every passenger is built differently, where as a child in elementary school is not necessarily the same size as a teenager in high school.

Schools would need to take that into consideration when deciding on seat belt variations.

A school bus is already the safest route of transportation, using a system called compartmentalization.

Each bus is specially designed with seats made in order to create a safe compartment which have padded cushions and our built to be a certain height.

McLaughlin said bus design needs to be considered when thinking about seat belts.

“Seat design, along with the height of the school bus above the road surface and the ability of the body to shear from the frame all work together to reduce injuries in the event of frontal or rear impact,” McLaughlin said.

Sophomore Grace Stemple said seat belts should be used on school buses “because buses take wide turns and almost every time you slide out of the seat and have to catch yourself.”

A bus is moving like a car, so they should also have seat belts.”

— Grace Stemple, sophomore

In addition, Grace said, “A bus is moving like a car, so they should also have seat belts.”

Many people seem to think of a school bus as a regular car, and seat belts are a requirement in a car so it would only make sense to require seat belts on a school bus.

However, research shows that a school bus is already designed a specific way to ensure everyone is safe while riding home.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Writer
Hannah Hendley, Photography Editor


Birthday: February 7, 2000
Extracurricular activities: Tennis, dance, and float building.
Hobbies: Eating, reading, and drawing.
Plans after...

Leave a Comment

Your first and last name are required. (Your email address will not be published.) Comments should foster healthy discussions. Personal attacks or profanity are not allowed. For further policies and a list of prohibited comments, see The Eclipse policies on the "About Us" page. It may take 24 to 72 hours before the post is approved for publication.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Left
  • Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

    News

    Emerick voted Blueberry Ambassador Teacher of the Year

  • Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

    News

    Winkler has fond memories of teaching

  • Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

    News

    School ends June 6 after governor forgives snow days

  • Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

    News

    Grager retires after 32 years in education

  • Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

    News

    Parker bids farewell with the Class of 2019

  • Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

    News

    Endangered Species Day raises awareness about protecting animals

  • Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

    News

    Seniors should be on time for their graduation activities

  • Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

    News

    Kearsley bids farewell to retiring counselor, former teacher

  • Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

    News

    Spend time with loved ones on International Day of Families

  • Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident

    News

    Retirement offers opportunities for Puffer

Navigate Right
The student news site of Kearsley High School in Flint, Michigan
Seat belts for buses debated after Tennessee bus accident