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What are the opposing claims for seatbelt use on school busses?

When it comes to school bus safety, Massachusetts's parents of school-aged children are concerned whether proper safety protocols are being followed. And while much debate has surrounded the issue regarding seatbelts on school busses, it is important that parents, students and administrators understand the pros and cons of these safety features on school busses.

What are the opposing against seatbelt use on school busses? Because there are child restraint laws in every single state in the Unites States, it is understandable as to why many argue for seatbelts or a type of restraints on school busses transporting children to and from school. However, there are strong arguments that seatbelts on school buses are actually harmful to small children.

How could a safety item be beneficial in personal vehicles but harmful on a school bus? The major reason is oversight. It is much easier to ensure proper use of safety restraints in a small personal vehicle versus their use by numerous occupants in a large school bus. And even if bus drivers are able to enforce the use of seatbelts by passengers, it is difficult to oversee that they are continually worn properly or even at all.

Additionally, it is difficult to provide a seatbelt that would provide sufficient protection is various accident scenarios. A bus accident is not the same as a car crash, therefore, it must be understood how passengers are affected in a rear-end collision, rollover crash, lateral accident and head-on collision.

And while there are some school districts across the nation that have implemented seatbelts on their school busses and have positive feedback to report, it is difficult to draft legislation that could oversee this safety concern on a large scale. Therefore, it will likely require additionally research and data to determine the costs and benefits of such legislation.

Whether or not seatbelts are enforced and used while students are on a school bus, even the safest bus driver may not be able to evade a negligent driver. When a bus accident occurs, a seatbelt may not be able to prevent all forms of accident injuries. Therefore, victims suffering serious injuries should understand the recourses available to them. This could help the victim and their loved ones recover compensation for their injuries, losses and damages.

Source: NCSBS.org, "Fact Summaries - School Bus Safety," accessed Dec. 21, 2015

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