Updates on School Bus Seat Belt Laws in Tennessee

A gray tour bus or camper parked in an emtpy parking lotU.S. Rep. Steve Cohen is calling for a federal mandate on seat belts for school buses. The call comes in the wake of the devastating Chattanooga school bus accident in 2016, which killed six and injured over one dozen children. Cohen has long been an advocate for seat belts on school buses, a mantle he took up in the 1990s.

Seat Belts on Buses

Earlier this year, a bill passed that would require all school buses purchased after July 1 to have seat belts. But Cohen thinks this isn’t enough. He says that arguments that school buses are already safe enough have been eviscerated by studies done in California, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas and Missouri. Those studies said that compartmentalization of seats was not adequate to protect children in the event of side impacts or rollovers. Three-point seat belts, though, would.

The major argument against seat belts, others have argued, is that the cost of outfitting every school bus would be exceptionally expensive for the comparatively minor upgrade in safety. Others say that seat belts could actually put children in more danger. For example, in the event of a fire, seat belts would slow down evacuation, potentially leading to deaths.

What do you think? Should the rest of the country follow New Jersey’s example and require all buses to have seat belts? Or is the cost too prohibitive and the benefit too little?

Heb 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”



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