Be careful how you define school bus safety
To the editor:
Each time there's a horrific school bus crash, the subject of seat belts arises. Well, let me give you all some serious "food for thought."
Having been a school bus driver I am a tad qualified on the subject. So you've a bus with 60 or 70 children on it, all neatly buckled into their "gear." So the bus gets run off the road into a little ditch and ends up on its side. Picture the inside of the bus folks. You've roughly 30 or more kids "hanging" from their harnesses."
So everyone, uninjured, wants to get out of the bus. Afraid of the possibility of fire? So the "hangers" start unbuckling and guess what? Yup you're right. They fall onto the kids strapped in below them. That could get real ugly. And it does.
So now you have mass pandemonium and injuries occurring that might have never happened except for the restraints. And what's a single bus driver to do? Not much.
So the same bus goes into deep water. Without those restraints it's likely that most of the occupants will get out. But not if they're "hogtied."
Driving where I did in North Marion, I drove along the Willamette River. Believe me, I did think of that gruesome situation. We only hear of the school bus accidents that are horrific -- bad news sells? How many tens of thousands of miles are driven each and every day without any accidents? Why don't you try and find the answer to that question and let the rest of us know?
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