University Student Advocates Seat Belts In School Buses Bill

Dear Editor,

I am a student of University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. Mountain Top is my beloved hometown and holds a near and dear place in my heart. That being said, I am writing to bring attention to an issue that has come to my concern in Pennsylvania: seat belt laws in school buses. I want to bring attention to this issue in hopes to inform citizens and possibly resolve the issue.

There is some very good news! There is a Senate Bill (SB122) that is currently in the transportation committee that would require seat belts in school buses, but this bill has very little chance of actually making it through. I want to bring this bill to the attention of citizens with your help. The more attention it gets; the better chance it has to being resolved. The biggest factor for this bill is the cost of the seat belts in the school buses for tax payers, but let’s break this down. A school bus has the average lifespan of 12 years. The cost of adding seat belts is $12,000, which is $1,000 per year. Based on student population, the cost per student per year is $16.60, which works out to be $.04 per student, per ride, per day.

On June 26, 2011 there was a school bus accident on Interstate 81 that injured more than two dozen people. I came across this article and it broke my heart. I knew that if there were seat belts in this school bus, then there wouldn’t have been as many injuries. Research done by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that lap-shoulder belts in school buses have reduced injuries and fatalities by 45%. School buses are supposed to be safe means of transportation to and from school for kids. It would be expected of a vehicle transporting children on a daily basis to provide the simple safety of seat belts.

This issue needs to be brought to the attention of citizens and legislators. For a resolution to happen, people must be educated about the issue. Thank you very much for your time and attention, it is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Maria Pirolli