In early April of 2013, there was news of a bus accident near Wadsworth, Lake County, Illinois. The photographs that followed would make anyone’s stomach drop.
The photos were of an overturned school bus that was filled with children. Fortunately, authorities reported that most of the children walked away without serious injuries.
The accident brought up some concerns regarding our children and bus safety in Illinois. Most school buses in Illinois are not equipped with seatbelts for the students, only for the bus driver. Seat belts are not required on such vehicles under Illinois law.
There are Illinois politicians that believe and fight for a law to be enacted requiring every new school bus to be fitted with seat belts for students. Proponents of seat belts say that kids who are not belted in can be, in the event of an accident, thrown around the bus and become seriously injured or killed. Though it doesn’t happen often, it has happened and the odds are it will happen again.
Illinois politicians who push for seat belt legislation have been unsuccessful. The people who oppose seat belts on school buses point to studies done by The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration which show that the school bus is one of the safest ways for children to get to and from school. Not surprisingly, these politicians who fight for the safety of our children face strong opposition from school boards. The school boards fear that buses equipped with seat belts, which reduce the number so students a bus can carry, will result in increased transportation costs.
The people who oppose seat belt laws for students on buses have some valid arguments. After all, school bus travel is very safe, much safer than hitching a ride to school with a friend or even with mom and dad. It’s true. Kids are safe on the school bus. However, what happens when a child is seriously injured or killed on a bus because he or she is not belted down? Will the same people who oppose seat belt regulations because of the almighty dollar be calling the parent of that child who is killed on a bus to report the bad news? I think not!