Is it time for seat belts on school buses in Mississippi?

State Representative Tom Miles recently introduced House Bill 469. It’s main aim? Make installing seat belts mandatory on new school bus purchases. Are seat belts right for your state? Absolutely. We encourage you to Find & Contact Your State Legislator to tell them that you support H.B. 469 for Seat Belts on School Buses.

This crash test video is usually enough for most to understand why seat belts should be on school buses.

 

The Academy of Pediatrics, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation (NASDPTS) all support or even endorse lap-shoulder seat belts on school buses. Yet, despite significant evidence that seat belts save lives, reduce injuries, curb bullying, improve behavior, and decrease driver distraction, many districts resist putting them on their buses.Why? The answer is simple: Misinformation.

 

If you think seat belts should be on school buses in your area, and you would like more information, we’d love to provide you with some advocate resources. advocate button

 

SafeGuard recently conducted two live crash test demonstrations to dispel this harmful misinformation. Watch the dramatic results here, and check out how SafeGuard puts many of the common excuses against seat belts on school buses to rest once and for all.

 

Myth: School buses are safe enough, a.k.a. “Compartmentalization works.”

Fact: The concept of compartmentalization is to place children between two high-backed, energy-absorbing seats. In a frontal or rear collision (or even sudden stops) children can be thrown into the seat in front of them. While they may be spared more serious injuries, they are often still injured, receiving everything from bumps and bruises to concussions. Seat belts could prevent a number of these injuries.

It’s also worth noting that compartmentalization does not work in side impacts or rollovers, as the videos above so graphically depicted. It is also only effective when children are seated facing forward with their feet on the floor at all times.

Myth: Seat belts slow down evacuations.

Fact: In a rollover, students are tossed about the interior of the bus like clothes in a dryer. When a child is buckled up, they are far less likely to be seriously injured and can evacuate easily at the click of a button, even if they are upside down.

Myth: Seat belts will be used as weapon.

Fact: Our belts are just like the ones in your car. They’re on a short strap that retracts into the seat. SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts have been on school buses for more than a decade and we’ve never received a single report of them being used as a weapon.

Myth: Installing seat belts will reduce the number of seats, forcing my district to buy more buses.

Fact: SafeGuard invented the FlexSeat to solve this issue. Our FlexSeats will seat three elementary school children or two high school children in a single seat, just like a regular school bus seat without belts.

Myth: Seat belts cost too much

Fact: The life of a school bus can be between 12 and 16 years. With SafeGuard belts on school buses, it’s only pennies per day. Costs have been reduced by as much as 52% since 2003.

Better Behavior — the Benefits Don’t End with Safety

You know seat belts reduce injuries and save lives. What surprises parents, and what many districts are happily discovering, is the impact lap-shoulder belts have on behavior when paired with an enforced usage policy.

Bullying
As many as 93% of bus drivers report witnessing bullying on their school buses. School districts with lap-shoulder belts, assigned seating, and an enforced usage policy have found that bullying has been significantly reduced, and in some cases eliminated entirely, on their school buses.

Improved Behavior and Decreased Driver Distraction
Districts have reported that discipline issues on one of their most troubled buses improved 90 to 95% when they switched to SafeGuard seat belts. Even though their drivers were initially against the idea, they came around very quickly when they experienced the results. Now they can keep their eyes on the road instead of constantly looking in their rearview mirror.

There are No More Excuses® for keeping lap-shoulder belts off our children’s school buses. It’s time to better protect our kids. It’s time to give our bus drivers better behaved buses. It’s time for SafeGuard.

advocate button If you think seat belts should be on school buses in your area, and you would like more information, we’d love to provide you with some advocate resources.