The traditional yellow school bus is a staple of American culture. They’ve featured in high-school movies for longer than most of us can remember. And, they’ve been on our roads for even longer. In fact, both the color and design date to a conference way back in 1939. In many ways, these are our equivalent to the UK's red telephone boxes. And, there isn’t a person out there who’d want to get rid of them.But, that doesn’t mean the sunny exterior of our school transport isn’t under some duress. Many parents currently have worries about the safety such vehicles offer. And, one look at the news should be enough to tell you why. Most recently, a school bus crash in Omaha resulted in fifteen children taken to hospital. And, this is by no means a one-off event. We face stories like these far more often than many parents are comfortable with. Of course, these buses are state property, and therefore state responsibility. As such, conditions vary in each area. And, of course, any parent of an injured child would be within their rights to contact trial lawyers like those found at Bey & Associates to fight their state for compensation. But, that’s hardly enough when our children’s lives are at risk. So, some parents are fighting for change. And, we’re going to look at three main things they’re asking for. Stricter seat belt regulations
Thankfully, fatalities don’t often occur in school bus crashes. But, when they do, it’s usually because children weren’t wearing their seatbelts. Admittedly, some states are already on top of this issue. Florida, New York, and Louisiana are among a few states which have made school bus seat belts mandatory. New Jersey is also discussing this issue after a crash resulting in two deaths and 43 injuries. But, in some states, seatbelts aren’t only mandatory, but not present. In older school buses, they merely aren’t fitted. And, given the risk of the road, many parents would argue that isn’t good enough. Turn buses greenDon’t panic; we don’t mean getting rid of that iconic yellow color. But, many parents are also rallying for electric buses. And, their reasons aren’t entirely environmental. While electronic buses would undeniably make a considerable difference to levels of pollution, they would also ensure an added degree of child safety. The sad fact is, buses fuelled by gasoline are incredibly flammable. And, while diesel was once the fuel of choice, high prices now mean many states are reverting to gasoline tanks for their buses. This means that any accident involving fire could become an awful lot more dangerous than it needs to be. And, with states like California committing to a $768 million on electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including chargers for large vehicles, it’s hard to see a downside here.Better ventilationAlong the same vein, many parents are also flying the flag for better ventilation and air con systems. In many ways, this is an issue of general rights. We wouldn’t leave our dogs in a hot car, so why do so many of our school buses have broken air con systems, if they have them at all? Surely any parent would want their child to ride in style without risk of overheating? But, on a broader scale, this issue also relates back to the diesel dilemma. While we’ve already discussed the fact that diesel is safer than gasoline, it also comes with its risks. In fact, the inhalation of diesel fumes has been linked to diseases like asthma and cancer. Given that children are particularly vulnerable due to undeveloped airways, this is a significant cause for concern. And, issues get worse when you consider that drivers tend to leave the engine running during pickups. As such, children inhale worrying amounts of diesel fumes on entering and leaving the school bus. For many parents, that’s the nail in an already overloaded coffin.
So, what can be done?As it stands, there’s sadly little to do about the situation. A look into the issue reveals that small steps are being made each day. And, bus manufacturer Bluebird did reveal two electric school buses back in 2017. As with anything, though, money is an issue here. There’s just no getting around the fact that, if we want free transportation to stay free, something has to give. So, for now, it seems that we can only keep fighting. And, perhaps one day, we’ll see the levels of safety we seek in our school buses.