|Minnesota School Transportation Employee Publishes White Paper Supporting School Bus Seat Belts|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Friday, 09 April 2010 00:00|
David Peterson knew his research paper would be unpopular.
The transportation specialist at St. Paul Public Schools in the Twin Cities and the communication officer for the Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation was given an assignment this spring to write a paper for a course he is taking in pursuit of a master's degree in public administration at Metropolitan State University, also in St. Paul. He chose a topic that interested him and that has been the source of "great debate" in not only the school transportation industry but amongst parents and educators for the better part of the last three decades.
The result is "Why the National Congress on School Transportation Should Endorse Seat Belts on School Buses," a 13-page white paper that explores the topic.
"Some people are very upset, but I thought that would happen," Peterson said. "It's a white paper, and a white paper is designed to encourage dialogue."
Peterson's thesis is that the 15th NCST held in Warrensburg, Mo., next month should pass a resolution that officially recommends all school buses have the three-point lap/shoulder restraint systems. NAPT, NASDPTS and NSTA have all previously stated that they are not in opposition to the seat belts to make school transportation even safer for children, only that any such laws should be fully funded by either the federal government or state legislatures.
"The student transportation community should adjust its sails to the wind of change and support flexible seating systems on school buses as a means to improve student safety for student transportation," he wrote. "The National School Transportation Congress is the main student transportation community means of developing school bus construction standards."
His paper addresses passenger capacity and the advent of flexible seating provided by all three major school bus seat manufacturers. Peterson also discusses emergency evacuations, saying that students of all ages are already trained by their parents on using seat belts, and "it is wrong to imply that many or all of the students would be waiting for someone to unbuckle their seat belt" in the event of a school bus incident.
Peterson also writes about liability and cost. He cites data from C.E. White and IMMI/SafeGuard that installing seat belts on new school buses could cost between $7,000 and $14,000. Additionally, according to NHTSA, the cost to install seat belts nationwide would be between $183 million and $252 million and would "save about 2 lives per year" and would "prevent 1,900 crash injuries per year."
|Last Updated on Friday, 09 April 2010 07:00|