By Marielle H.
Everyday millions of students across the world head off to school in “The safest method of transportation” as said by the Canada Safety Council. If the school bus is so safe, why is it that while kids must wear a seatbelt in a car, the same is not required on a bus? This issue has created quite the debate between parents, schools, engineers and even kids. According to Canada Safety Council School buses are built specifically to not need seatbelts by having high seats, energy absorbing material, and having the seats packed together to be compartmentalized. With this given information it would seem that your child is out of harm’s way, right?
Safe Guard disagrees. “The technology adapted in 1977, called compartmentalization, does nothing to protect kids in a situation like [this].” The video provided in the hyperlink shows a school bus rolling over. Children are thrown to the bus walls, causing 16 of the children to have minor injuries. Though this footage is shocking and can strike fear in a person. Each year about 130 people die in a school bus related accidents, but three quarters of those fatalities are from either pedestrians or people in other vehicles.
“[Seatbelts] should not be mandatory because the collisions buses get in are not damaging enough where you need seatbelts. Usually the collisions the students only have minor injuries.” says Westmount student Maddy. If school buses are safe already, why not make them safer by adding seatbelts? On the other side, research has shown that by having a seatbelt in a head on collisions, which is the most common bus collision, actually increases the risk of head and neck injuries. If school buses had seatbelts it would require the seats to be stiffer, and for students who are not buckled up it will increase injury.
It has also been proven that by having seat belts, bullying on the school buses significantly decreases by having the students unable to move seats. Seeing as up to 93% of school bus drivers report seeing bullying this can make a major impact on students lives. By having seat belts it helps keep the drivers eyes on the road as they are not having to look back making sure the students are in their seats. Some, like Westmount student Maddie, think that “Kids aren’t going to wear them anyways”. Would having seatbelts make a difference?
Should school buses be required to have seatbelts? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Do you think the school bus has earned the title of “The safest method of transportation”?