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Seat Belts: An Extra Protection for School Bus Students?


For decades seat belts have been made mandatory in most of the vehicles. But, some school buses still lack seat belts. It’s amusing to realise that the most precious possession- our children,travel to school in large buses with very little protection.

The federal government’s take on the issue is “compartmentalization” — consisting of “strong, closely spaces seats with energy absorbing back seats” — helps protect children in the event of accidents without the need to buckle up.Six states have already decided to use seat belts in school buses but due to lack of funding they couldn’t implement the law.

The efforts to equipping school buses with seat belts at Massachusetts school buses have been rebuked by the Legislature for years. Practically installing seat belts in school buses can only be possible by giving schools the time to phase in seat belts and address costs.  A bill which has been sponsored by state Rep. Antonio Cabral, D-New Bedford, promotes the approach, incorporating suggestions by the School Transportation Association of Massachusetts.

But, the bill is one among several in the House and one in the Senate that have stalled. Another approach which is favoured by the School Transportation Association consists of a grace period for existing buses and begin requiring belts under long-term competitively bid contracts. Adding seat belts to school buses is estimated to cost between $11,000 to $13,000 per bus.But that cost would surely just be passed on to school districts.

There are numerous practical issues that arise when it comes to installing seat belts in school buses.But, we should never look back when it’s about the safety of our little children. It’s high time that we install seat belts in school buses. 

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