Dangerous and Deadly School Buses

- By Bahram Maskanian

Ralph Nader's 1965 book, “Unsafe at Any Speed”, captured the world’s attention to fix a few deadly problems such as: lack of seat belts in every day ordinary cars. Seat belts were available at the time, but for rich folks only, in exotic auto parts stores, where they were expensive and customers needed to hire a mechanic to bolt them to the car's floorboards.

Fact is that even at low speed of 15 miles an hour, a car wreck could propel passengers into the metal dashboard, or snap the driver's neck on the metal steering wheel. At mid-speed car wrecks, 25 miles an hour, passengers could be thrown into the windshield, which was made of "safety glass" that could chisel and cut a passenger's face and body.

Car doors were not attached to the car's body firmly enough to withstand collision forces, and would often pop open, or blow off in an accident, which would instantly make the car's frame and the passengers inside much more likely to be crumpled by the crash.

Thanks to Ralph Nader’s hard work and efforts the hazards of cars and driving has been modestly reduced. 

But what I do not understand is how could the bus manufacturers not learn anything from the above lessons, and over look the very same dangerous settings that existed in the 1965 cars, allowing the same dangerous conditions to still exist in today’s school buses, endangering the lives of our children, our little angels.

dangerous and deadly school buses with no seat belts

inside school buses, dangerous and deadly school buses with no seat belts

All school buses cross the U.S. are not equipped with seat belts, no air conditioner, and many of them with no heat.  There are so many rules and regulations regarding child safety seats within passenger cars to protect one child, shouldn’t we also mandate to make rules and regulations for protecting a bus load of our little angels, our children; 20, or 30 of them traveling in the most dangerous, badly designed and built bus in the history? 

Buses with no safety of any kind, no seat belts, and at low speed of 10, or 15 miles an hour bus wreck, children are thrown all over the place, bouncing off the hard metal seats edge, hard glass windows and the metal body of the bus, getting badly hurt and or killed.

Three point retractable, lap and shoulder safety seat-belt with push button release buckle, come with matching contoured sleeve, buckle, tongue cover, with two-inch guide loop, sold for quantity of 10, or more for $30 each, plus half an hour $15 installation charges per seat belt, as shown in the image below. I am sure we can all agree that if we were to buy thousands of these belts the price would be whole lot cheaper that $30 a piece.  

To retrofit a 30 seats school bus it would take 2 installers and 7.5 hours time, at the cost of $1,350 for the whole school bus, parts and labor included.

Adding the typical bribes, kickbacks, and inflated fraudulent prices U.S. Government officials pay for purchasing products, such as $900 toilet seat, the price of a seat belt would come to $3,500 each, plus $1,500 installation charges per seat belt, thus the total for retrofitting a 30 seats school bus would come to $150,000.

Contact Department of Transportation in Washington DC, your congress representatives, and discuss this issue with them, demanding an immediate and safe solution. 

U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Main Switchboard: 1-202-366-4000
Tool Free: 1-866-377-8642

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