Saturday, April 5, 2008

Seat belts on school buses

Photo: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. The Kahuku High School school bus turned on its side.

Rep. Marilyn Lee has been an advocate for seat belts on school buses for several years. When past legislation failed to make it through the legislature, she introduced House Resolution 62, which urges the Board of Education to only purchase or lease large school buses with seats that have seat belt assemblies, and backs that are at least 24 inches in height.

The resolution states that most school bus fatalities occur due to rollovers, and that is exactly what happened on Thursday, April 3rd, when a school bus transporting the Kahuku High School girls water polo team swerved to avoid an oncoming car on Kamehameha Highway, and rolled over on its side into Waikane Stream. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has a story this morning here.

The Department of Education is concerned about the cost of purchasing buses with seat belts. There is ongoing debate on whether it is safer or more dangerous to have seat belts on buses. The Kahuku incident helps frame the issue on a more personal level. Fortunately, there were no fatalities or severe injuries in the accident. The 26 girls on the team were checked out and released from various hospitals that evening.

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