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January 26, 2010  |   Comments (7)   |   Post a comment

Conn. voters support proposed school bus seat belt bill


HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut legislator has proposed to require seat belts on school buses, and a statewide poll found that nearly three-fourths of voters support the measure.

Democratic Rep. Tony Guerrera, House chair of the Legislature's Transportation Committee, has authored legislation to require that school buses be equipped with safety belts and that passengers be required to wear them while the buses are being operated.

The legislation will be raised by the Transportation Committee after the 2010 General Assembly session convenes Feb. 3.

Rep. Guerrera said he was in part moved to draft the legislation because of the recent death of a high school student in his constituency. Vikas Parikh, a 16-year-old Rocky Hill High School student, was killed in a Jan. 9 school bus crash when the bus collided with a car on a highway and fell 20 feet down an embankment.

Hamden, Conn.-based Quinnipiac University conducted a poll of voters in the state and found that there is strong support for the proposed legislation. Overall, 73 percent of voters support the measure, including both Republicans and Democrats in all parts of the state.

The Transportation Committee most recently debated the school bus seat belt issue in March 2006, but its members have never endorsed the idea for the full General Assembly's vote, due to the cost ramifications and the conflicting testimony they heard about whether seat belts on buses could do more harm than good.


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Being a mother, grandmother & bus driver - I do not agree with seat belts on school buses. When children are taught to ride in an auto correctly then it carries over to the bus. If the students are seated properly they are not a distraction to the driver - making the bus ride safer for all onboard. In case of an accident there are too many things that can go wrong where a driver is not going to be able to get all, if any students out of seat belts ...leaving the safety of the students to themselves. I prefer my children free of seat belts on a school bus.

Leah Glenn    |    Mar 17, 2010 05:24 AM

Continued From Previous Post: Some school districts in states using belts but not mandated include Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont and Wisconsin. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, Center for Auto Safety, American College of Preventative Medicine, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Society for Adolescent Medicine, American Assoc. Oral, Maxillofacial Surg. are among the major professional medical organizations that endorse the installation of seat belts on school buses. When liability enters the picture, which it has in recent years, the only real option to savings concerning the school buses not equipped with seat belts is never crash the bus. ~ James Kraemer,

James Kraemer    |    Jan 28, 2010 03:23 AM

Arguments against seat belts on school buses are very similar to the arguments in the 1950’s against these devices in automobiles. The nation's largest auto maker at that time, General Motors, declined to offer belts even as optional equipment. General Motors' "safety engineer," concluded, "seat belts are not essential for safe driving." Also GM's styling vice-president was not impressed with seat belts, "This just encourages the nuts,” and coined the term, "the seat-belt crazeu." ~ PBS/NOVA Loud, unruly and other uncooperative behaviors from students can create bus driver distractions equivalent to that of a drunk driver. Would a drunk driving the school bus be acceptable? How then can it be acceptable to allow children to act out on the bus distracting their bus driver from his or her duties while driving and also at school bus stops where in most years the school bus kills more children than all other motorists combined? Seat belts are a significant factor in reducing bus driver distraction, as well as preventing ejection’s and the more serious injuries on school buses. They also provide a consistent buckle-up theme in any vehicle children ride, and encourage correct sitting where use is enforced. By 1998-99 over 700 school districts had belts installed on their buses. They had somehow overcome all the concerns about seat belts, most of that turned out to be emotional fallacies promoted by the industry. Even districts that use inexpensive lap belts have discovered fallacies concerning this device claimed could do more ham than good. Has the press ever considered talking to New Jersey or any one of the hundreds school districts with successful lap belt usage on their school buses? What dangers are lap belts on school buses that are worse than unbuckled? Some school districts in states using belts but not mandated include Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Okl

James Kraemer    |    Jan 28, 2010 03:20 AM

When you 1st read this it sounds like a good idea. Seat belts would make the studants stay in their seats, but who is going to make sure the studants are using them... montors... how many $s for the attendants, the belts? Do some more reading on buses and seat belts and will the kids in the belts be injuryed more in them then out? If the bus in Hartford Conn. had stated on fire how fast can the monitor and driver cut 40 to 50 students out of seat belts?.... maybe the bus happens to be upside down? How many seat belts will a seat belt cutter real cut? Who do you save and who do you let hang? Think about the law suits everyone ( divers, attendants, schools, school bus manufactures, BOE members and more) will all be in on the action when this all happens.

neil    |    Jan 27, 2010 12:00 PM

I wonder of the folks who were polled were informed of the recent studies and industry information regarding the safety of school buses and research done regarding seat belts on school buses. I am thinking not. When people are informed, their opinions generally change.

spstc    |    Jan 27, 2010 11:20 AM

Now how do you propose enforcing student use of these seat belts? Hire a bus monitor to keep track? At what cost? What if the child refuses - can't physically force them to do so!

Sunny    |    Jan 27, 2010 10:05 AM

I wish every state had seat belts for kids, at least you could have them belted down and that would make then stay in their seats and facing forwards.

Marty Hahn    |    Jan 27, 2010 09:54 AM

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