The Seat Belt Project

Raynie, Skyler,Victor and Diego

We are AGAINST seat belts on School Buses!!

We are against seat belts on school buses because for a couple of reasons. For one kids wouldn't wear them. The seat belts on large buses are harmful to small children. The seat belts are more trouble then they're worth.

The explanation for the safety of school buses is explained by a concept called compartmentalization. In compartmentalization, the seats on the school bus are placed very close to each other and have high backs that are very padded. As a result, in an accident the student would be propelled forward a very short distance into a padded seatback that in a way is like an early version of an airbag. In addition, the fact that people sit high off the ground in school buses also adds to the safety, as the impact location with an automobile would occur beneath the seats.

Another answer why buses do not have seatbelts is cost. It is estimated that adding seatbelts to buses would add between $8,000 and 15,000 to the cost of each bus . In addition, seatbelts would take up room currently used as seats, meaning that each bus would have fewer seating places. The additional room in the bus taken up by seatbelts would mean that bus fleets would have to increase by as much as 15% just to carry the same number of people.

Crash tests of three different sizes of school buses were conducted in 1984: one small bus, one van conversion type bus and one large bus. Using unbelted and belted dummies, the tests indicated that the use of a lap belt of forward-facing seats could increase the risk of head injuries during a severe frontal collision. In a head-on collision (the most common type of bus accident), an occupant with a lap belt would experience more severe or fatal head and neck injuries. The lap belt would hold a person’s pelvis firmly in place only to allow the torso to crack like a whip, with the head striking a seat back or a hard object with greater force than if the whole body had been thrown. Further investigation showed that the combination lap and shoulder belts would require stiffer seats which could increase injury to unbelted students. Also the lap-shoulder belts provided no added protection in a sideways crash: a child would shake loose from the shoulder belt. Moreover, the lap belts increased the chance of abdominal injuries because of “submarining” (caused by the lap belt riding up onto the abdomen area, where there is no bone structure to prevent injury to internal organs). Tests showed that because of children’s varying sizes and activity on the bus the lap belts would move out of position, risking injuries to internal organs. Also in an emergency, the use of seatbelts could hinder evacuation. Young children should not be placed in a situation where they must be responsible for their own safety.

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