What's the safest way for kids to get to school? I'll give you one guess: it's big, bright yellow, structurally sound, has eight lights and a STOP arm. That's right - it's a school bus.
Still, there are ways to make the school bus ride even safer. One remedy is what has become a part of everyone's daily life in a car - buckling up, every ride, every time. Right now, however, the majority of kids don't have to, and often cannot buckle up on buses for lack of an appropriate seat belt. Seat belts on school buses are not required except in some form in California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now looking to change that.
Dr. Mark Rosekind, the Administrator of NHTSA, recently recommended that every child on every school bus should have a three-point seat belt. The position of NHTSA is clear: seat belts save lives.
We strongly agree with Dr. Rosekind and hope you will too. Three-point belts ensure that a child stays in their seat during a crash and reduces the risk of injury to the head, neck and spine, particularly for older and taller occupants. School bus seat belts also teach kids from an early age that the first thing they do when taking a seat in a moving vehicle is to buckle up, every ride, every time.
To accomplish this, we need parents to call for a change in policy in their school district. It is not necessary to wait for a federal mandate. Let's make a simple commitment to ensure that all kids buckle up, every ride, every time.
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