New school buses should be equipped with seat belts
To the Editor:
The Worthington school board has authorized the district to purchase five new school buses. I would like to urge ThisWeek and the community to encourage the Worthington school district to purchase school buses equipped with seat belts.
Our bus routes now include travel on highways at speeds that put our buses and children at greater risk than before. While the crashworthiness of our school buses may be adequate for travel at neighborhood speed limits, these increased speeds put the bus at a greater risk of a rollover. The current crashworthiness or safeguards of our buses does not account for an accident of this nature. In the case of a roll-over, our children would, at the least, be tossed around; at the worst, they would fly through the air like missiles approaching a target.
As a teacher in this district, I try very hard to teach and model good habits; I think we all do. So I find it very disturbing that this is a safety habit that we choose not to model. Until our children ride on a school bus, they always would travel in a car seat or with a seat belt fastened. Once they get on that school bus, they are made to believe that not wearing a seat belt is acceptable. Each time we have taken a shuttle bus at the airport, we have watched a preschooler look for the seat belts on the bus, with an older sibling telling them that buses don't have seat belts. What a mixed message and unsafe practice we promote.
Soon all commercial buses will require seat belts, and at least five states require seat belts on school buses. The time has come to make this a standard requirement. The safety of our children is always our top priority, but I believe we have chosen to overlook this relatively simple, inexpensive, yet effective precaution when we choose not to provide seat belts on our school buses.
Please, for the safety of our children, encourage our district to purchase school buses with seat belts in them.
Mary Beth Pierce