Waltham Requiring Students To Wear Seat Belts On School Buses

WALTHAM (CBS) – There’s something new for kids in Waltham on the first day of school: shoulder straps on the school buses.

Starting Wednesday, the first day of school in Waltham, the children made the instructional leap from their mother’s loving embrace into the equally secure, but less warm, seat belt on the school bus.

Waltham is believed to be the first community in Massachusetts to require lap and shoulder seat belts on the buses.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports.

“Because when I think back to what went on on the bus when I was a child, I’m amazed that no one was seriously injured or killed on one of those rides,” said one parent.

Some high school kids, though, said that the belts “look stupid.”

More from Carl Stevens
  • NikW

    This is a GREAT idea.

  • emom

    It’s about time… WHY NOT, after all we are to buckle up in our own cars,, You strap your children , your babies in,, so why allow a child to ride in an unsecure ride… There has been serious injuries and death from riding in school busses, not alot,, BUT still there have been,, Kids sitting at the back of the bus, they love it,, BUT one good ruff spot in a road , and we have tons,, and it can and will send a child flying into the roof of the bus, end results , head injury,,, I am glad someone finally was brave enough to get the buses outfitted… Now the driver has to be sure all buckle up now… that is going to be the bigger challenge….

  • response

    One of the main reasons for not having seat belts in school buses is, if there an accident, it would be up to the bus driver to get all the children unbuckled.
    There are a lot of children that are still required to be in car seats and have no idea how to buckle/unbuckle a seat belt.
    If a there was a bus fire, the kids without have a better chance of getting out.
    (just the other side of the equation…)

    • LL

      Agreed. I would not want to be on the receiving end of one that gets swung in anger either.

  • demoon

    Are you ready for the bus ride to take twice as long? It is a challenge to get kids to sit, can you imagine how interesting it will be for the driver to get them to buckle? As an aside, school bus seats are designed to absorb impact in a crash assuming the children are sitting down. I also agree with “response” regarding getting kids out of the belts in an emergency.

  • Proud Waltham Parent

    It is alarming – particularly given the federal government has definitively ruled that there are no “safety issues” about wearing seatbelts on school buses – that such misinformation has been wrongly conveyed to parents. The United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Unites States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) all advise us to always use a seat belt on a school bus if one is provided because it, in all cases, enhances safety. These motor vehicle safety experts also tell us that the use of seat belts on school buses has never been shown to cause injury, slow evacuation, or exhibit any safety issue at all. These federal agencies have spent many tens of thousands of hours and millions of dollars, using a team of highly qualified experts, crash tests, and over 20 years of actual data from school buses with seat belts, to determine that there are no safety issues with seat belts on school buses and that they recommend that all school bus passengers be encouraged to wear a seat belt on a school bus if one is provided.

    We are very fortunate here in Waltham that our School Committee listened to the voices of hundreds of parents who petitioned them to require the school buses that transport our children to be equipped with seatbelts. Check out the informational website at Waltham4seatbelts.org which is comprised only of credible, factual material and has been repeatedly cited as a thorough and accurate resource by several school committee members and our former Waltham Fire Chief Richard Cardillo (endorsements are in the school district public record). This website fairly presents the pros and cons of adding seat belts to school buses; notably, where the cons have absolutely nothing to do with any safety issues (rather, budget/cost issue), the pros, of course, are the added safety and improved behavior.

    Mr. Charles Hott, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s lead school bus seat belt safety engineer responsible for NHTSA’s final rule on seat belts for school buses and who was responsible for crafting the regulations for school bus seat belts and Dr. Chris Polland, the National Transportation Safety Board principal investigator and author on all school bus crash reports since 1998, confirmed that the information presented by Waltham4seatbelts is in exact agreement with their official United States Government findings and recommendations. These experts advise that since NHTSA and the NTSB are required to investigate all issues regarding school bus safety and address them, they know that there is not a single factual story of seat belts hindering evacuation or in any other way being the cause of safety issues. They also know for a fact that the use of seat belts on school buses saves lives and reduces serious injuries over that which is possible with compartmentalization alone. Please stop negligently perpetuating myths!

  • Jbean

    Great idea! What took so long? Kids also are unsafely standing up and sticking things out windows while the bus is in motion. They also kneel and turn around in their seats. Seatbelts would help prevent this and keep drivers’ attention more on the road then what is happening behind them.

  • Mike

    Yes, Proud Waltham Parent, the government has NEVER lied to us or been worng. Their comments are just a kickback to some union who will sell or install seat belts. Don’t believe everything you read.

  • 2nd Grade Mom

    I do not think that it is necessary to beleive everything you read to think that kids are safer with seatbelts than they are without them. Furthermore, the school district is not REQUIRING seatbelts, they are simply providing the option – an option I would think most parents will appreciate.

    Congratulations to the Waltham School Committee for putting the safety of our children first.

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