Seat belts are standard equipment in automobiles and have proven to be an effective life-saving and injury-preventing device. The debate on whether or not safety belts should be required on school buses is ardent, and both sides make strong arguments.
"The current restraint system used on large school buses is a passive restraint called 'compartmentalization.' This concept only provides limited protection to a child and only if the accident is a front-end crash. Children who currently ride a large school bus are provided no protection in rear-end, side-impact, or rollover crashes," says Nora Job, P.A.S.S. (People Advocating Seat Belt Safety) legislation representative. The grass-roots organization adamantly recommends the installation of seat belts on all school buses.
During 1995, twenty-three percent of the 1,041 school bus accidents in Minnesota were caused by driver distraction. Requiring the installation of seat belts will reduce driver distraction and provide protection for students by improving the vehicle's overall safety performance.
For more information, write to P.A.S.S. Legislation, P.O. Box 574, Monticello, MN 55362, or call (612) 878-4343.