PBS News Hour aired a segment as part of its weekly feature “Making the Grade” that provided insights into why some school districts are choosing to equip the school buses with lap-shoulder seat belts while others are not.
The episode was produced for PBS and reported by Education Week. It aired Tuesday evening and made the point that school buses are the safest vehicle on the road and the safest option for students to get to and from school. But it asks if school buses could be even safer, and correspondent Lisa Stark of Education Week interviewed former NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, who says they can be. He publicly championed lap-shoulder belts for all school buses during a controversial announcement at the National Association for Pupil Transportation Summit in November 2015, while stopping short of announcing a proposed rule.
“Making the Grade” features Austin ISD in Texas, which began adopting three-point restraints five years ago, and Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, which has chosen to spend its budget money for other school bus safety programs and solutions. It also quotes students who ride school buses with the seat belts, interviews the National Transportation Safety Board’s Kristin Poland, who demonstrates how lap-shoulder belts fully complement compartmentalized, cushioned and high-back school bus seats during various crash scenarios, and a survivor of a 2006 non-school bus crash in Texas that otherwise prompted the state’s law requiring lap-shoulder belts in school buses, though necessary funding has never been made available.
Watch the segment in its entirety, below: