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 PA: Seat belts for sbuses won't enhance safety
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Posted - 04/28/2008 :  04:59:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Another View
April 28, 2008 - Allentown Morning Call, PA

By Russ A. Leibensperger (Russ A. Leibensperger of Macungie is a third-generation school bus transportation contractor with over 30 years in the business. He is the owner of Paragon Transit, the transportation provider for the Salisbury Township School District, and Student Transportation Solutions, an independent transportation consulting firm.)

The article earlier this month regarding an assumption of reduced injuries in school buses if students were properly harnessed has motivated me to respond..

full letter to editor

Related forum stories from The Allentown Morning Call:

April 6, 2008: Survey finds 200+ students might have avoided inj

April 8, 2008: Without disclosure of school bus injuries, sound policy on seat belts will be difficult

Top Member

7307 Posts

Posted - 04/28/2008 :  12:17:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Odd letter.

The commentary seems riddled with distortions concerning the realities involving seat belts and required use.

The mention that requiring use would result in the school bus, "never getting to school!," reveals who is in charge of such buses -- the kids.

Over 700 school districts in our country by 1998 had somehow overcame Leibensperger's claims. This so-called complicated issue has already been decided in several states and growing. Some school districts in states using belts but not mandated include Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

In 2008 Trinity Episcopal Day School installed seat belts on their athletics and field trips school bus, presented in the press as the safest school bus in Mississippi. “We take the safety of our children seriously,” Rev. Chip Davis said.

Philadelphia just did earlier this month. The City Council in December approved a bill requiring seat belts on all school buses by September.

The reality is that behind the scenes last year 28-percent of this nation's largest integrated school bus manufacture’s production, IC Corporation, included new school buses with factory installed seat belts -- 25-percent with lap belts; 3-percent with 3-point belts.

These districts concerns are not only with protecting children during a crash but also reducing the number of crashes due to bus driver distraction; reducing the number of injuries during the routine operation of the school bus; as well as properly training children to 'buckle-up' in any vehicle they might ride.

The dramatic reduction in bus driver distraction alone, as claimed by many districts and researchers, was worth the devices. These have looked at some of the over 700 school districts in this country with seat belts and use enforced for a decade and longer. (jk)

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