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Should school buses have seatbelts?

08:00 Tue Sep 6 2011

An eight-year-old girl remains in a critical condition in Auckland's Starship Hospital this morning after yesterday's horrific crash that involved a school bus and a logging truck in the Bay of Plenty.

Meanwhile, a six-year-old girl is now in a stable condition in the children's ward at Rotorua Hospital.

One passenger told media that some of the children looked like they had been victims of a shark attack.

Deputy Fire Chief Howie Black told media it was "frightening to see something on that scale".

"When we got there it was like absolute carnage; there were children everywhere crying."

The bus, carrying students from Trident and Whakatane High Schools and primary school students from Taneatua, was shunted into a paddock following the crash.

Police say the cause of the crash is not yet known, but will be fully investigated by their Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit.

Yesterday's crash has reignited calls for seat belts to be fitted into school buses and for children to be prevented from standing in buses.

The number of students allowed to stand on a bus is determined by its weight and is stated on the vehicle's loading certificate.

It's not known if children were standing on the Ruatoki bus.

The Ministry of Education’s website states that there is "no requirement for all students to be seated on a bus", although "routes are designed to have as few standing passengers as possible within the set cost limits".

The MOE recommends that students forced to stand on a bus "fill the bus from the back, put your bag on the floor, and hold onto a handrail or seatback".

New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) figures show only five serious injuries occurred as a result of school bus crashes nationwide between 2006 and 2010.

Should seatbelts on school buses be made compulsory? Have your say.

User comments
children will benifit from wearing seatbelts,it is safer.however it will be costly to be replaced every so other negative of having seatbelts is,if a major bus accident occurrs and seatbelts become difficult to take off urgently,lives may be lost..(fire,drowning etc). so in a way,its speeding that causes most accidents,from either bus or motorists,we should all be safe traveling on the road.accidents only happen when certain people decide to drive reckless.. so should having no seatbelts in buses be the blame ? or the driver of reckless driving? putting seatbelts in buses wont fix the problem of speeding trucks or motorists. that cause buses to steer off the road ,that leads to injury..
If the last Labour Government didn't close so many country schools there would be a lot less kids traveling on buses... Its only a matter of time before there will be a fatal that wouldn't have happened if a school wasn't closed...
2 injured in a accident that hardly ever happens and once again the new zealand public goes crazy. buses are huge and mostly safe. as seen from above it was a huge logging truck that hit it. cars wont hurt anyone if they collide maybe the car but no one in the bus. this never happens and its a waste of money to put the seatbelts in because of the amount of replacing that would need to be done because of kids wrecking it. no one died so everyone move on
more to the point surely,would be to effectively manage the intergration of HMV and PSV on the same road,,their is ,I believe a current law about max permitted speed past a school bus,,seatbelts didnot cause this terrible accident,,More likely to be Inattention,Speed and or Professed Ignorance of the legal situation,,I have driven many 1000`s of Kms in Loggers, etc,,from the sound of it ,the truck was going far too fast for the situation at the time,,seatbelts,,in a crash like this is akin to placing yr ambulance at the Bottom of the cliff,,reducing the effects are good,,removing the Causes must be Inherently better,Aroha to all those caught up in this terrible tragedy.
I am constantly shocked and appalled at how endangered children are on buses. Where is the profit and what is the loss? Why have seat belt laws if it doesn't protect our children?
Our children's safety is paramount and having children stand or travel unsecured on buses is extremely dangerous. What is the point of seat belt laws if they don't serve to protect our children? It's very interesting how cost and profit intersect on this issue.
Yes and No!! Children will not wear them, fitting them will be a waste of time and money as they will be vandalised and not used! You would also need to employ people or have volunteer's to watch the kids in making sure this is not going on. However, i am suprised they do not yet have any as it seems a little "dark ages" not to. Parents who are not happy buses dont have them could rather drive their children to school which in most cases is a bit of an ask!! Buses are also often overloaded in the way people end up with no would you go about restraining standing people aside from buying more buses!! It is opening a can of worms.
yer think a good way to slow the trffick down is to some how fit the school buses with speed camerasthat would surely slow the truck drivers down and less people killed.. there are some of our greatest sports people from this area and we need more saftey for the futre generations ..
I drive buses for a living and although in hindsight it would be a good idea but it is not practical for two reasons 1) There is a small number of dedicated school buses in the country the rest is used for in combination with charter and urban timetable (public bus) work and 3-4 seatbelts would need to replaced every day due to vandalisim in order to keep buses legal and safe or yearly to pass a COF. 2) It will make extracation a hell of a lot more difficult if a bus rolls over and it would impeed on a quick exit in the event of an emergency. In saying that i'm all for standing room to be removed for school work and allowed for a 70kmhr and bellow speed zones for all other work. At the end of the day buses are the safest form of land transport along with trains that we have in NZ compared with cars,bikes and walking. The only way u can prevent people being thrown forward except a stationary head on crash is to change the seat configuration round so everyone is facing the rear
Yes all school buses should be fitted with seatbelts. Secondly,if all school buses were painted an orange colour they can be easily identified by other motorists.They should also be fitted with lollipop Stop signs attached either side towards the front of the bus. The word Stop must be clearly visible by all vehicles travelling in both directions. Upon coming to a halt to pickup or set down school children the driver will extend or retract the sign accordingly. All traffic must Stop irrespective what direction you are travelling.