Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fatal bus accident in Missouri

It is a sad day to recognize that, apparently, a young teenage girl has been killed in the bus collision in Missouri. According to the news, the driver of the first school bus, which carried the girls, was changing lanes and took her eyes from the road in order to look into her rear view (side) mirrors. In front of her on the road , a pickup truck had hit the cab of an 18-wheeler and these vehicles were stopped on the highway. The bus with the girls slammed into the pickup, crushing it (which killed the driver), then travelled up onto the 18-wheeler cab (there was not a load being carried - only the cab in the accident).

The bus with the boys on it then slammed into the bus with the girls. Was that driver following too close? I don't know.

The reason I'm writing is because of my belief that ALL school buses should have seat belts. There was no indication that either of these buses had seat belts. Would the girl that died still be alive if she had been wearing a seatbelt? Would the other students have been safer? I can't answer those questions, but I would like to know the truths. The news stated that many students were taken to hospitals.

In the early 1970s in Indiana, I began lobbying for seatbelts on buses and I continued that for many years, including the time I've lived in Texas. Year before last year, the Texas legislature finally passed a law requiring that, as of 2011, all school buses in our state have seatbelts.

Thank God for that, but there are still many states in which seatbelts are not required. The cost of a seatbelt is nothing compared to the emotional toll of losing a student.

I ask all of my friends to email their federal legislatures (and state legislators in states other than Texas) to request that the law require seatbelts on buses. Please do this!

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