Should there be seatbelts on Michiana school buses? - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Should there be seatbelts on Michiana school buses?

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"My kids ride, you know they go on field trips. If you're supposed to have seatbelts in cars you should have them on buses too," says Mike Allen.

But Dale Dorsey, Penn Harris Madison Community Schools' Transportation Director says buses are the safest way for kids to travel, without seatbelts. "They're built like a tank. They can withstand a major impact without harming children."

That's one of the reasons why he doesn't think school buses need seatbelts. "Seatbelts save lives in cars and automobiles, but we're not so sure that's true in the buses."

In some situations, he says seatbelts could do more harm than good. "How do you remove 66 kids fast enough from seatbelts, elementary school children?"

He says his bus drivers are trained to get kids off the bus and out of harms way as fast as possible and seatbelts would make that challenging. "The tragedy could be far greater because of the fact that you didn't have time to remove children out of seatbelts."

He says wearing seatbelts may be hard to enforce and he also fears students could use seatbelts as a weapon.

According to the National Conference of State Legislature Transportation review, 25 million children travel between school and home each day on a bus. And in an average year, 24 kids are killed in school bus accidents.

"One death is too many, but at the same time, we want to prevent deaths as much as possible and future injuries as much as possible," says Dorsey.

But parents still think seatbelts are a good idea.

"I think it would be safer for the kids," says Sabrina Barnett.

"I think they should have seatbelts on the buses because they have them in cars. Save the kids' lives because kids are in a lot of danger riding without seatbelts on," says John Jackson.

Dorsey says it costs an additional 12-thousand dollars to purchase a bus outfitted with the safest form of seatbelts, but he says the cost isn't what's stopping Penn Harris Madison schools from getting them.

FOX28 also spoke with Wa-Nee school, they tell us the conversation to get seatbelts has come up multiple times, but they have no plans to get them.


 

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