A few weeks ago, we talked about why there are no seat belts in school buses in most states. Last week on the Today Show, Jeff Rossen of Rossen Reports was wondering the same thing.
Jeff reported that only 6 states require seat belts in school buses – California, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, New York, and Maryland. He asked Janette Fennell, President of Kids & Cars, why other states do not require seat belts. She stated that first of all, she felt very strongly that seat belts should be in all school buses, but traditional thinking is the idea of compartmentalizing to keep kids safe. She demonstrated to Jeff that the seat back is high, the seats are close together and the seats are padded, pointing out that if the bus is hit from behind or in the front, this keeps the children in the little “compartment”. But when the bus is hit from the side or rolls over, compartmentalizing is not enough.
Jeff spoke with Mark Rosekind of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Mr. Rosekind stated that there was a meeting concerning the regulation of seat belts in school buses this summer and that they will take action this fall. Mr. Rosekind stated that even without seat belts, the school bus is the safest way to get kids to and from school.
The report aired an experiment by crashing a school bus into a concrete wall at 30 mph (the average speed a school bus travels in local neighborhoods) with several child-sized dummies inside. The results showed one child ending up in the aisle and a dent in the back of the seat where the head of one of the dummies had hit.
Critics say that the downside would be kids using the seat belts incorrectly. The anchors of the Today Show stated that kids are conditioned to buckle up and have a level of confidence to do it right.
The Rossen Report will stay on top of the NHTSA and the federal government and report any action taken on this matter. We will update you with any news.