National safety leader cites Chattanooga crash in calling for school bus seat belts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday re-emphasized the agency’s call for seat belts on school buses in the aftermath of a crash in Chattanooga that killed six students.

Administrator Mark Rosekind said at a transportation safety conference in Washington that while school buses remain the safest way for children to get to and from school, they “can be safer.”

“And as the recent tragic crash in Chattanooga reminds us, there is no more heartrending, dreadful, tragic crash than when children are involved,” he said.

An average of five school-age children a year have died on school buses between 2006 and 2016, according to data compiled by the agency.

Until recently, federal regulators did not push the idea of requiring safety restraints. That changed in November 2015 when Rosekind called for a three-point seat belt on every bus.

Administrators in school districts where the over-the-shoulder belts have been introduced have noticed that they also help keep students in their seats and reduce disciplinary problems and distractions for drivers, said Derek Graham, director of pupil transportation in North Carolina.

… An NTSB investigation into a 2014 school bus wreck in Anaheim, California, found that one child “was in fact saved in that crash” by wearing a seat belt, Molloy said. By contrast, the agency found that school bus crashes in Chesterfield, New Jersey, and Port St. Lucie, Florida, resulted in fatalities that could have been prevented by the use of seat belts.

–Full story HERE.

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