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Councilor: Students should be belted in and supervised on school buses

City Councilor Charles Yancey (Dorchester) today will propose ordinances to require all BPS school buses that can carry 35 or more students to be equipped with passenger seat belts and to carry a monitor to keep them from getting out of line.

The council will take up the proposals at its regular meeting, which starts at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.

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Comments

Hasn't study after study shown that children are safer in buses with no seatbelt? The seats themselves are designed to protect children in an accident. Any seatbelts will quickly become damaged and useless anyway and probably lead to more injury than prevent.

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Bad kids will use them as weapons to whip other kids.

The elevated design of the buses themselves and the tight quarters of the seats are supposed to eliminate the need for seatbelts in the first place.

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Everything you have said is the gospel truth. Totally hit the nail on the head. Please attend the hearing on this!

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Let's get random Joes who know nothing about transportation safety, but read Something Online.

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I actually don't know. I keep hearing this, but I've never seen a study about it.

I will say that I just returned from a trip to Europe, and the one time I took a tourist bus for a tour, we were told to buckle up.

And regarding monitors: seems like a thankless job, but I know that we had them on our school buses when I was a little kid.

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NHTSA says:

Large school buses are heavier and distribute crash forces differently than do passenger cars and light trucks. Because of these differences, the crash forces experienced by occupants of buses are much less than that experienced by occupants of passenger cars, light trucks or vans. NHTSA decided that the best way to provide crash protection to passengers of large school buses is through a concept called “compartmentalization.” This requires that the interior of large buses provide occupant protection such that children are protected without the need to buckle-up. Through compartmentalization, occupant crash protection is provided by a protective envelope consisting of strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs.

Small school buses (with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less) must be equipped with lap and/or lap/shoulder belts at all designated seating positions. Since the sizes and weights of small school buses are closer to those of passenger cars and trucks, seat belts in those vehicles are necessary to provide occupant protection.

School bus crash data show that compartmentalization has been effective at protecting school bus passengers. NHTSA’s 2002 Report to Congress found that the addition of lap belts did not improve occupant protection for the severe frontal impacts that were studied for that report.

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Why must we waste everyone's time talking about seat belts when scientists have already studied it and determined that they are not needed? Thanks for the informative post!

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Given the accident infrequency and safety of school buses, few if any lives would be saved by retrofitting 60 or so seat belts to each of the many thousands of school buses on the road. More lives may be lost with children using them to choke or whip each other vs. saved in crashes.

This is much like adding stop signs or traffic lights to intersections. Both these devices cause rear-end collisions because without them, people wouldn't be stopping to get rear-ended. Additional accidents occur from people spacing out and running them, colliding with other drivers who stop looking for other vehicles crossing because they have the green light. Those negatives have to be weighed against the positives from adding the traffic signal. The positives win with higher traffic volumes.

There is no pure win in many situations. Positives have to outweigh negatives.

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I'm not sure I'm seeing the public need here. Have we had lots of childhood fatalities from unbelted kids in buses? Any increase in bus accidents even? Any buses even get up above 30 mph on our streets?

This seems like a waste of attention.

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We're talking about Chuck Yancey here - the king of low expectations.

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Now that they've solved the problem with diversity and local employment by getting BU's president to testify in front of the council they can work on less pressing matters.

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Dealing with the problem of the MBTA becoming unusable for non-students ( in some neighborhoods moreso than others) especially when the kids get out if school? This lasts for hours, basically 12 noon onwards up til 4PM, on school days. Forest Hills and other stations become a nightmare.

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I have no children so therefore have no opinion/idea on what is required to raise a child properly but I think on-line activity is more of a danger to your little one than a seat belt when riding in a iron lunch box. Or their language, view of the world, elders, work ethic etc.

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Even if buses were equipped with seat belts, how would you enforce their use?

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Sounds like a make-work proposal. As if busing for the Boston school district isn't expensive enough.

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The Patriot Ledger
By Jessica Trufant

MARSHFIELD – On Tuesday night, the Marshfield school committee discussed next steps after the attorney general’s office in December ruled invalid a town meeting vote requiring seat belts in all school buses because it exceeded the town’s authority.

Because school buses are comprehensively regulated at the state level, “the town is pre-empted from adopting its own seatbelt requirements by way of a local bylaw,” the letter reads.

The attorney general’s office said the town would have to petition the Legislature to have the local seatbelt requirement enacted.

http://www.patriotledger.com/article/20150114/NEWS/150118497

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Seems like most of the fatalities in motor vehicles there is from occupants getting shot from the outside!

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Behavior control, belted down kids are less likely to fight and throw stuff. As a middle school teacher, I like the idea.

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you and all your fellow teachers would be willing to take a pay cut to implement this plan.

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If the city decides to do they'll take it out of all of our paychecks as taxpayers, that's just how it works. In any case, it's not the worst idea - just ask any teacher, student or parent about the sort of dangerous crap that happens on buses. I often hear about serious bullying incidents on buses, but it's very hard to deal with these issues because the driver has to drive and it's not a controlled space in same way that the school itself is. There are many kids who stop coming to school simply to avoid the bullying on the buses. Yancy is on the right track with this, the district and city need to provide students with safe transportation, and I'm not just talking about car crashes.

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Behavior control, belted down kids are less likely to fight and throw stuff. As a middle school teacher, I like the idea.

One doesn't have to be a school teacher (and I'm not.), to think that having seat-belts installed on school buses is an excellent idea whose time is long overdue. Not only would it reduce the likelihood of kids fighting, bullying other kids and/or throwing stuff, but it would reduce the chance(s) of another accident like the one where the bus carrying some kids who were part of a Newton school music band that was on its way home from a tour in Canada flipped over and killed two or three of the kids, if one gets the drift.

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There are big differences between an interstate motor coach (many of which do have seatbelts) and a school bus that rarely gets up much speed above 35mph.

Tying them down sounds good in theory, but what about on a third different type of bus that many Boston middle schoolers ride all the time: the MBTA bus?

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The ones I rode growing up in the mid-90s always had seatbelts, though no one forced students to wear them past elementary school.

You can't honestly tell me the school buses are still being manufactured without seat belts...though of course, it's up to each school system to decide if and how to ensure children comply with buckling up.

For what it's worth, in high school I bruised my throat when my school bus hit a garbage can that had blown out in the street on a windy day and the bus stopped short, throwing me into the back of the seat in front of me.

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School buses are being made without seat belts. Maybe not all of them, but most. The ones you rode on seem to have been an anomaly.

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