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March 30, 2010  |   Comments (2)   |   Post a comment

NASDPTS: Parade article on school buses ‘may mislead parents’

The state pupil transportation directors association cited numerous concerns with an article in last week’s issue of Parade magazine under the provocative headline “Are School Buses Unsafe?”

The state pupil transportation directors association cited numerous concerns with an article in last week’s issue of Parade magazine under the provocative headline “Are School Buses Unsafe?”

NEW YORK — Last week’s issue of Parade magazine included an article with a provocative title: “Are School Buses Unsafe?”

That headline, as well as the contents of the brief article in the widely distributed publication, prompted a critique from school transportation officials saying that it “may mislead parents.”

The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) wrote a letter to Parade citing numerous concerns. For one, the association said, the Parade piece fails to distinguish between lap belts and lap-shoulder belts.

The article says that installing “seat belts” in a new school bus “would cost just $1,500.” But that figure only applies to lap belts, NASDPTS noted.

The Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation recently estimated that the cost of a proposed lap-shoulder belt mandate in the state would be $8,000 to $9,000 per large school bus.

“There are significant differences in cost and potential benefits between a two-point lap belt and a three-point lap/shoulder belt, yet your readers did not know which system the writer was discussing,” NASDPTS President Charlie Hood wrote.

Another problem with the Parade article, NASDPTS said, is that has “no comments or information from the federal agencies that have studied school bus safety or the national organizations that are most familiar with student transportation.”

The article acknowledges that “data show that school buses are extremely safe compared to cars.” Still, NASDPTS said that the headline and other elements “may mislead parents into believing school buses are unsafe, when the exact opposite is true. All credible national studies of school bus safety have concluded that school buses, with or without seat belts, are a far safer way for children to get to and from school than any other means.”

The NASDPTS letter describes the safety record and other benefits of school buses and asks Parade Executive Editor Lamar Graham to consider publishing a follow-up article with those facts.

According to Parade’s Website, the magazine is distributed by more than 510 Sunday newspapers and reaches 74 million readers. The publication’s mission includes the statement, “Each article must be clear in design and content and well researched and written with a voice of authority.”

To view the Parade article, click here. To view the NASDPTS letter, click here.


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Sourced, not 'soured.' (:

James Kraemer    |    Mar 30, 2010 10:44 PM

Articles about articles on school buses ‘may [also] mislead parents.’ Lapbelts in the rear seat of cars turned out to be a bad idea, because of the rigid design of automobiles in those days, and also the soft seats in cars caused problems for that device. They work well on school buses. By the way, and just to mention, the research presented concerning how bad lap belts are on school buses was from old research done on cars. This was even briefly mentioned in the seminar presentations I attended and in various reports before the presenter would proceed trashing the use of belts on school buses. On the school bus a poorly fitted lapbelt is reported as safer than a poorly fitted 3-pt.. In the Tennessee/Georgia train/bus crash mentioned earlier in this thread a small child was buckled into a lapbelt that was presumed on the bus for car seats. That bus was struck at some 50mph ejecting and killing some kids, as well as killing two on the bus. I saw the actual video of the young child violently thrashed around in her seat retrained by a loose fitted lapbelt. She sustained the least injuries. An amazing video that I've been looking for and hope myself or someone else here can locate it on the net. I have no issue with 2-pt or 3-pt belts, whatever suits my employer is fine with me. I welcome the belts for a variety of reasons, including helping to reduce bus driver distraction and the benefit of the belts helping to keep kids seated. (jk) These assurtions are soured from a thread in the SBF Fourms. Join the discussion at:

James Kraemer    |    Mar 30, 2010 10:40 PM

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