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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Schools have to give bus safety features to students

Marcelo+Cidrack%2FUnsplash
Marcelo Cidrack/Unsplash

KEYLA HOLMES
campus editor
keyla.holmes@my.tccd.edu

Many people know the importance of seat belts. We know they save lives. However, many large school buses across the country don’t have them in the vehicle.  

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires them on buses that carry 15 or less, but not ones that seat more. 

Children of all ages depend on the bus to get to and from school. It’s absolutely disheartening that proper safety restraint systems aren’t on most buses.  

One of the reasons for the lack of seat belts is due to “compartmentalization.” The idea is that the padding from the seats and the overall structure of the bus will protect students in the situation of a crash.  

While the design was created with the potential of a crash in mind, studies suggest that “compartmentalization” is ineffective when the bus is hit from the side or any angle causing the vehicle to potentially flip or roll. 

If the research is there and the National Transportation Safety Board has recognized the need for change, then it should be a priority for most states.  

School Buses do have a pretty good record in terms of being safe. They’re heavily regulated, so they should be. However, kids are still dying. 

On the way to their first day of school, a bus in Springfield, Ohio crashed, injuring about 20 elementary school students and killing one.  

The bus didn’t have seat belts.  

When I was in elementary school, kids would sit at the back of the bus if they wanted a bumpier and more exciting ride. Students would be jolted out of their seats, or would slide to the left or right when the vehicle made a turn.  

It was fun for a lot of students. Sometimes I enjoyed the back myself. Never did I think about what might happen to us if the bus took too sharp of a turn, or if we got into an accident with a car. 

I’m not sure if any of the other kids did. Looking back on it though, it was extremely unsafe. I think that’s why a lot of us enjoyed it. It was like a ride at an amusement park, except less secure since those have seat belts. 

I have siblings who are elementary school aged, and while they don’t ride the bus, they still rely on that mode of transportation for field trips. Some trips are to the zoo or a mueseum, neither which are super close to their school.  

My siblings’ buses, like many others, most likely don’t have seat belts. As an older sister, it’s worrisome to know that they could be seriously injured or worse.  

Trusting your state’s legislators with protecting students’ lives can be difficult.  

Many issues surrounding the implementation of seat belts have to do with money. To go in and get seats that are specifically made for seat belts on every bus, is apparently expensive.   

While I doubt the task would be simple or quick, I think the discussion of seat belts should be a priority when discussing school safety. Kids who rely on public transportation are deserving of feeling safe, as well as the confidence of their guardians. 

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