Seat belts on buses--your opinion

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, this ticks me off.
    My son rides the short bus and there are eight kids with him. There are also seat belts in every spot. Most of you know I had a long talk with Big Boss Friday, and he told me that Bus Driver was wrong for not making the bigger kids belt in. Well, my son still had not belted in today, so I called Director of Special Needs at School to ask if the bus drivers were supposed to assure the kids were belted in. He said that, strangely, although it was against the law to drive without a seat belt, that in school buses, most buses had no seat belts at all and that older kids did not, by law, have to belt in. I didn't get it. At any rate, I told him to please make sure Bus Driver made my son belt in. I mean, wow. Just because he's fourteen, I don't want him killed if Crazy Bus Driver crashes the bus. So now he'll be the only Older Kid wearing a seat belt, and he won't be happy. What would you do? Am I making a big deal out of nothing by demanding that they seat belt my son into the bus? No other parents have said anything (or maybe they don't know).
    By the way, today was first day without Prejudice Bus Driver and it was great!!!! She is on five day suspension. I don't know what will happen after that, but I sure don't want to work with her again, and I definitely still don't want her to drive my son unless I'm sitting in the back of the bus, taping every word she says. Thoughts?
  2. SnowAngel

    SnowAngel New Member

    I think you should call your states department of transportation, they will know if it is required on a bus that drives special needs kids. I would think they would be required, as many special needs kids are unable to react to fast movements on a bus. Lets pray you dont get snow where you live.

    As for the ignorant bus driver...Christmas is comming up...Is there a bus driving for dummies book? :rofl: Sorry, I couldn't help myself. :angel:
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I don't have any experience with the SpEd buses here, but the regular ed buses don't have seatbelts. However, my former mother in law has driven a SpEd bus in Georgia for 30+ years without an aid. She has to make sure each child is buckled and the 5 year olds have to be in booster seat or car seat, depending on their disability.

    As far as continuing to work with crazy lady, I would strongly hope they put her or you on a different route. In the event that doesn't happen, document everything. I would suspect she would be the type to try retaliatory tactics. Documenting everything will help to protect you in that case.
  4. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    You know, our district does the same thing. We (the taxpayers) put out a fortune to put seatbelts in every bus, yet the kids are never required to use them. I always see kids standing up on the buses. I frequently see drivers take off while the kid is still walking down the aisle to his seat. This makes me nuts! It's a peave.

    I've been writing letters, ad nauseum, to the school district lately.....I actually got something made into policy recently with all my letter writing (got all my friends all riled up and they all wrote letters and called school district---It was great).

    I may just be writing another letter.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Offer to buy a big bag of candy and each child who wears and keeps their seat belt ON for the duration of the ride can have a piece when he/she gets off.

    Or just do it with your own kid....

    As far as the busnazi coming back....can't you call the School district dept of transportation head and ask him now what is going to be done to ensure that there will be no retaliation - and assure him you will WILL take your sons side for what she say.

    This may be a good time to have that talk about - And if she threatens you somehow (you know like says if he says anything she'll do this or that) HE NEEDS TO tell you and not worry or be afraid of her. I had to do that once with my son. BIG mistake on her part - huge.

    Also you can ask if video monitoring with sound is a part of the bus and request it from the district.

    Just throwing ideas out there.

    Wishing someone would throw me some leftover candy....argh.

  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You know, there IS no law that even Special Education kids have to wear seat belts unless they are PHYSICALLY disabled, and my son isn't. However, I made it clear yesterday that even if the other kids don't wear them, I want my son to do it. He'll be grumpy when he comes home and is the only one forced to wear a seat belt, but, hey, I want him safe. The bus laws are screwy.
    As for Prejudiced Bus Driver, I doubt she'll ever drive my son's route again--I called the owner of the bus company and he was very distraught. If I ever have to work with BusNazi again, I'm bringing a small tape recorder, telling her I'm recording our time together, and I'll bet she'll be as quiet as a mouse. She lies so much that I have to protect myself. A nice lady from ADA told me to do this, and I will. I wish I'd thought of it earlier, but I figured that was illegal.
    I'm really ticked that all kids don't need seat belts on buses and that all buses don't have them. I'm learning from working as a bus aide that many of these drivers aren't the greatest--our kids need to be, above all, safe and losing a fourteen year old is as painful as losing a four year old in my opinion.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Here's something to consider - the legal situation may be less important. Find out what it is, and if it is NOT what you feel is right, then campaign to make a difference.

    Kids hate wearing 'sissy' bike helmets too, but they save lives. And cries of "what kind of sissy are you, to be wearing a helmet?" have gone out when the law came in. "I'm wearing a helmet because it's the law," gives kids a face-saving out.

    We had a cop show on Aussie TV in the Sixties & Seventies. Leonard Teale, n actor playing a cop, was also into racing cars in his spare time. He always wore a seat belt in his racing cars, it was sensible. But back then, seat belts in cars was very much an expensive option, they were not sold with seat belts.
    But he took a stand and said that on the TV show, he would wear a seat belt when driving the 'cop car' to make a point to the public. They even had a story line where a cop took off his seat belt during a pursuit because he had dropped the two-way and needed to get it off the floor - in the story, the cop crashed and was killed before he had a chance to get his belt back on.

    Then our law was changed - seat belts MUST be worn in cars fitted with them. And by this stage, all new cars were being sold with belts. Back then they weren't retractable, they were horrible things and people didn't always have them fitted correctly. And people like my brother in law who didn't want the government telling them what to do actually REMOVED seat belts from their vehicles, so they wouldn't have to wear them.

    Then the law was tightened again - ALL vehicles travelling over a certain speed had to have seat belts fitted AND worn. By this point we were into the 80s. Just.

    Buses - no seat belts until very recently. The law is - if seat belts are fitted, they must be worn. But no law yet to retro-fit.

    We have other laws for smaller children which have recently been modified - these laws relate to what sort of child restraints and booster seats MUST be used for children under a certain age.

    So if the law is a bit ambiguous, or not enforced as yet, then take a stand yourself and ask THIS bus company, THIS school district, to be a trailblazer in this.
    Leonard Teale made a big change - the Victorian police force gave him credit for their implementation of seat belt use in their cars in the early 70s. His campaign led to what we now have - much safer roads with compulsory seat belt use.
    This is in Australia and I know your laws aren't as tight as ours. But in this instance, where it's the safety of special needs kids in a school bus, I think you would be successful.

    Encourage the officials in your area to either do the right thing legally, or make it the right thing to do, to ensure all passengers (regardless of age) wear seat belts where they have been fitted to the vehicle. An organisation can insist, where individuals have to fight peer pressure. An over-riding rule overcomes the peer pressure resistance. "Wear the belt or don't ride my bus."

    It's like encouraging people to register to vote - it's not compulsory in the US, but surely a high voter turnout is a victory for democracy?

    Good luck with it. This is a worthwhile campaign.

  8. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    I just don't understand how the law can mandate that people wear seat belts in cars, but don't require our school districts to buckle up our kids. Our buses don't even have seat belts for crying out loud.

    I think it would reduce some undesirable behaviors as well as provide safety. I vote yes to school bus seat belts.
  9. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I completely agree with gg.

    You have to war your belts in the car and on a plane. But school buses do not even have them. The SpEd buses do around here, but again, nothing mandating that the children have to wear them.

    It makes absolutely no sense.

    I am glad I drive my kid to school. And I certainly hope Lucas can get past feeling silly for wearing his belt. Better to feel silly than to go through the windshield.
  10. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    The Special Education buses here all have seat belts and all kids are belted it. The regular buses do not have them and it doesn't make sense to me either. Texas just passed a new law that all new buses going forward have to have them.

    Glad you didn't have to deal with the racist bus driver today. :thumbsup:

  11. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Seatbelts aren't required on buses because they are built differently than cars.

    In a bus, the seats are tall and close together. The seats themselves act as restraints in a collision. Seatbelts are impractical on a bus because in an emergency it would take to long for the driver to unbuckle all of the kids who got stuck because they panicked and couldn't get the belts off.

    From an Ontario government site ( ):

    Why no seat belts?

    Information from all types of school bus collisions demonstrates that the current school bus design provides a high level of protection to occupants and that seat belts may actually adversely affect the safety of children on school buses (Transport Canada).

    Instead of requiring seat belts, school buses are designed and constructed differently from passenger cars. School buses protect passengers through "compartmentalization", a design that includes:

    * Seats with high backs;
    * Seats filled with energy-absorbing material;
    * Seats placed close together to form compartments;
    * Strong seat anchorages.

    Studies have shown that adding seat belts to the current seating configuration of a school bus can increase the chance of head and neck injuries. For a seat belt to be effective, it must be worn correctly, snug and on the upper thighs. Because school vehicles carry passengers from the very young to high school students, if seat belts were used, they would need to be readjusted and their use monitored. A seat belt not worn correctly may cause serious injuries.

    A different view in favor of seatbelts:
  12. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Thank you for pointing that out, JJJ.

    That argument does hold water. Could you imagine a bus stalled on a railroad crossing, with 66 5-year olds who could not work the buckles?
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I can sort of see that for big buses, however this bus has, at most, eight kids on it at any one time. I do wish they would belt in my son. I hear they ARE going to. I still am not convinced no seat belts on a bus is the safest thing to do, but I'll settle for my own son being belted in. This bus is more like a van, and there's no harm in asking him to belt himself in.
  14. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Here is another article that discusses the issue of seat belts in school buses, from the Canada Safety Council:
    Seatbelts in school buses

    They did research on long buses, short buses, and van conversions, and the results showed that for all types there were increases in head, neck and whiplash-type injuries for children wearing seatbelts in the school buses.

    The only configuration that seems to benefit from seatbelts is rearward-facing seats, but the sharp increase in motion sickness among the riders seems to have dissuaded bus manufacturers from this option.

  15. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Oops. Both links in my previous post are the same. I'm still figuring out how to do that.

  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the links. That sort of gets me mad. Why not make a bus so that kids get the benefits of a seat belt? Even though the seats before the kids are higher, they can still be thrown out the window. Jeez...(grumble, grumble)
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's interesting how views on this vary around the world. And even within one country.

    I'm trawling through Aussie links. No value judgements here, just a range of ideas relevant to Down Under views, where we've had stricter seat belt laws than a lot of other countries.
    Just in case you're interested...

    It has been my experience that various private bus companies which have seat belts, have insisted on the kids wearing them. I do remember when I was a kid, no seat belts in buses and kids clambering everywhere. But then, I remember kids clambering everywhere in cars, before seat belts were made mandatory.

    Also, a point to make - there ARE manufacturing differences and road quality differences, between the US and Australia. We tend to rely less on air bags, for example, and more on seat belts. Our air bags do not deploy as easily because a bumpy Aussie road can be bad enough to trigger one set to US standards. But a good seat belt will keep you secure on the bumpiest Aussie road, our inertia reels probably trigger faster than the US ones.

  18. Hanging-On

    Hanging-On New Member

    I feel that buses should make the kids wear the belts. I can't imagine being thrown around a bus when it turns stops or moves, and not feeling uneasy. In addition, I can't imagine trying to drive the bus while kids are getting up and moving around. I've seen this happen while driving next to a bus, and it just floors me that they do that.

    In the last IEP meeting for difficult child we discussed his busing, and they asked me if I wanted he to have them. I said "absolutely". So in his SE bus he has a personal aid, and seat belts.