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School chooses safety over cost; adds seat belts to school buses

Buses have been around almost as long as cars, serving the ever-important function of transporting large groups of people at once. School buses transport some of the most precious cargo on the planet - children -- and have been doing so since the early 1900's. While there have been many changes and improvements to the school bus, one that has been lacking in many cities and states around the nation is seat belts.

Last year, 22 students and their driver slid off of a highway ramp falling to the ground below. The bus accident injured all involved but did something else as well. It motivated the injured students' school to require seat belts on all their full-sized buses. The move was made despite the extra $3,000 to $6,000 for each bus. While no one will deny that adding seat belts to buses provides an extra layer of safety, many agencies and individuals alike agree that the cost of adding seat belts isn't worth the added protection.

Missouri is one of 44 states that currently has no laws requiring the use of seat belts on school buses, although proponents have recommended their use since 2005. Since there is no federal regulation requiring the use of seat belts on school buses, a vast majority of states, like Missouri, have not enacted legislation requiring seat belts. This holds true even in the face of evidence that the high padded seats of a school bus do not adequately protect students in the event of a rollover and other types of accidents.

In the profit-driven United States, many try to strike a balance between the value given and the cost associated with the benefit of safety. But, sometimes there is no price on safety or the peace of mind one gains from knowing that what is most precious to them is safe and sound.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Pembroke Hill bus riders will be buckling seat belts," Brian Burnes and Glenn R. Rice, Aug. 17, 2014

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Pembroke Hill bus riders will be buckling seat belts," Brian Burnes and Glenn R. Rice, Aug. 17, 2014

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