Chattanooga School Bus Wreckage. Photo by Chattanooga Fire Department

Our Children Need Seat Belts On School Buses

With the recent, most tragic loss of life occurring in Chattanooga, Tennessee to so many school children, the time has come for our country creates a mandate to require seat belts. When I first learned about how there were no seat belts required on buses, I was absolutely appalled. NHTSA cites a big reason is monetary in comparison to the number of injuries sustained every year. Check out some of the current NHTSA policies on seat belts on school buses. The statistics for crashes are relatively low because of good driver training as well. But having good driver training doesn’t prevent something completely crazy from happening. It doesn’t prevent a distracted bus driver from causing accident, and also doesn’t prevent vehicle malfunction from happening. Additionally, the NHTSA has explained that if required to wear seat belts on buses, “students will use alternative, less safe means of getting to and from school.” This is simply flawed, assumptive logic.

CNN recently covered a story explaining the trouble with requiring students to wear seat belts while on the bus is mostly monetary. I find this to be a deplorable result. How is it that we are putting a price-tag on our childrens’ lives?

Additionally, and on a daily basis, how can we ask our children to put seat belts on while they are in our own cars. I have discussions all the time with my kids about the importance of putting on their seat belts. I’ve even been asked why they had to put them on in the car when they weren’t required to do so on the school bus. Parents across the country are asking themselves the same question.

I’ve personally watched a lot of children die because of not being belted in and I can only relate to you that there is no worse horror than hearing a mother scream for her child as life fades away. It is the most disturbingly terrible sound you can imagine. And for those of you that have experienced this situation personally, you know exactly what I am talking about.

So you can quickly see how it’s completely necessary for us to take the steps and to ensure at all costs that our children’s lives are protected. Sure, it’s going to be expense, but think of the prevented tragedies. Think of the children in Chattanooga and their parents who may have been spared had this nightmarish scenario been tempered by the requirement for students to put on a safety belt. They should have been belted in. Our children deserve better.

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Ruben Major
Editor in Chief at EMS Wire
Ruben began his career in Emergency Medical Services in 2000. He holds a Master's Degree in Military History and has experience as a Paramedic and EMS Supervisor in the field. He has taught CPR and First Aid Programs for several years. Ruben spent 2 years as Program Director for an EMS/Paramedic Program in the valley prior to working as Program Director for EMS University in Phoenix, Arizona. Ruben has published several articles on public safety and Emergency Medical Services in several prominent magazines and is responsible for creating the nation's first Native American APCO EMD Program. Ruben is currently seeking a Juris Doctor from Concord Law School. He has served
as CEO of EMS University since 2003 and is Editor in Chief at EMS Wire. Ruben enjoys astronomy, bicycling, hiking, other outdoor activities, and spending time with his family.

EMT-B, Mesa Community College (2000)
EMT-Paramedic, E-Med., Inc. (2002)
A.A., General Studies - Scottsdale Community College (2003)
B.A., History - Arizona State University (2003)
M.A., Military History - Norwich University (2008)
J.D., Candidate - Concord Law School (Class of 2016)