School bus seatbelts are not the answer: letter
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Safety on the buses
I READ on Saturday about Jada Burns concerns for her children's safety while travelling on school buses.
Jada, I empathise with your fears about your children as I too am a mother.
It must have been gut -wrenching for you and all the other parents on that fateful day when a truck rear-ended one of Polleys buses at the Two Mile.
I'm glad I didn't have to experience that.
At the time I/we also understood what Warren Polley was going through because we were school bus owner/drivers and therefore had awareness of the tremendous sense of responsibility a school bus driver lives with every trip.
We didn't have seatbelts fitted on our buses but on the odd occasion when we needed to hire a vehicle because of break-down, if belts were fitted we found it impossible to guarantee that the children kept their individual belts done up at all times.
In fact, nine times out of 10, the minute the bus pulled away from the kerb most were undone immediately and that was straight after a talk on the need to keep the belt secured.
In fact, I defy anyone to be able to achieve success with seatbelts and children en masse.
The driver needs his attention to be on the road. That's the best way to keep the children safe.
In theory Jada, bus belts for children sounds like the answer, but it is not.
As Warren said, a school bus is still one of the safest ways to travel.
A child is generally safer in one than in your own car, belted.
Much as we love them, we cannot keep them safe all the time.
It's asking the impossible to expect that.
I think the best thing we can do for our children is to send them off each day with love and a prayer for their safety.
Spending many thousands of dollars on bus seatbelts that a driver simply cannot guarantee is going to be kept done up seems like hitting a nut with a sledge-hammer to me.
Also, what happens if, god forbid, there is another accident like the one exampled here and Johnny is hurt because his seatbelt was undone?
Who is going to be held responsible?
The child? The parent because their child was not being responsible for themselves?
Or the bus owner/driver?
It's a can of worms alright and every time the issue is raised school bus owners shudder.
Soon, no one will want the responsibility for transporting children to school.
What happens then?
As I said, love them and send them off with a prayer.
Oh, and while I'm at it, school bus drivers need to be held in higher regard than they often are.
Credit where credit is due.