The fact that my friends and I hopped onto the school bus every morning with nary a seat belt in sight isn't just another anecdote about the '90s — school bus seat belts actually aren't required by federal law. It's something that a lot of parents likely haven't had more than a thought about, or if they have, aren't sure what to do about it; but this crash demonstration video is proof that all school buses need to have seat belts for the safety of our children. The driver has one . . . why not our kids?
In the video taken at a crash test facility, a bus is launched off a ramp to show what would happen to it if it were in an accident and flipped to its side. Inside the bus were 15 crash dummies — eight belted in with three-point seat belts, the seven others just sitting, as many of our kids do every day, beltless. During the crash, one of the unbelted dummies is seen snapping its neck back on the side of a seat, while two others are thrown to the opposite side of the bus, hitting another passenger before becoming wedged on top of one another between a seat and the seat back in front of it. Those belted in barely moved during the crash and remained in their seats behind their safety belts.
Only eight states require seat belts on their buses, including California and New Jersey, but other states are also working to ensure kids are safe on their way to school. Illinois is one of those states, with Senator Tammy Duckworth, along with Illinois Representative Steve Cohen, reintroducing the School Bus Safety Act before the 2019-2020 school year began. The legislation works to "make school buses safer by ensuring there are seat belts at every seat and buses are equipped with safety measures like stability control and automatic braking systems. The bill would also create a grant program to help school districts modify school buses to meet these important safety modifications."
"Nothing is more important than protecting our children."
"No parent should have to worry about the safety of their children when they get on a school bus, but school buses often lack seat belts and other basic safety equipment that every parent demands," Duckworth said, according to her website. "Nothing is more important than protecting our children, which is why I'm proud to be re-introducing the School Bus Safety Act with Rep. Cohen to help prevent accidents, make accidents less severe and implement other commonsense safety recommendations that will save lives."
If this crash demonstration is any indication of how vital it is for all buses to be equipped with seat belts for every single passenger, hopefully all other states will follow suit ASAP.