Seatbelt Safety

1642 Words 7 Pages
Are we going to hold ourselves accountable for any future accidents that might occur due to our ignorance of incorporating seat belts in our public transportation system? Or is it the responsibility of the government to do that? Seat belts are the undisputed lifesavers when it comes to hitting the road. Automobiles and even gigantic airplanes are required to provide seat belts for protection. Somewhere in this industry, however, seat belts are undermined for their value. This happens in the public transportation system. Needless to say, people do enjoy the freedom of not being strapped into their seat like babies. The government feels the same way. However, underestimating the power of seat belts comes at a price; losing our irreplaceable life. …show more content…
It has a legal and political stake. As a branch of the United States government, it has the legal responsibility of ensuring a safe transportation environment for the people. Politically, it is part of the government. The NHTSA has been reluctant in deciding whether or not to include seat belts in the public transportation system, especially when it comes to school buses. The NHTSA believes these vehicles are safer without seat belts. School buses are at the core of this debate because they pose as a double-sided figure for both the NHTSA and the rest of the stakeholders. For this reason, the NHTSA has provided a concept called “compartmentalization” to support its argument. Compartmentalization, which arguably works best for school buses, is a method of placing the seats compactly and equipping them with pads that provide good protection like a modern airbag. The concept has been effective in reducing school transportation-related fatalities. The NHTSA states that “From 2005 to 2014 there were 331,730 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those crashes, 1,191 (0.4%) were classified as school-transportation-related” (Traffic Safety Facts 1). This shows that compartmentalization is becoming effective in creating a safe transportation environment for school-related vehicles. Despite these uplifting facts, however, accidents are often deadly when they happen. Those …show more content…
They have an economic and legal stake in this issue. One of the main reasons why there aren’t seat belts in buses and trains is due to the high cost of including them. Jacqueline Howard is a CNN journalist that supports this clause by referring to the NHTSA. Howard states that “The average incremental cost of equipping a large school bus with seat belts would be between $7,346 and $10,296, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated at a public meeting last year” (Howard 1). There are two ways of including seat belts, either retrofitting the current vehicles or producing a new one. Retrofitting would cost more than the latter because it requires reinforcement of the floor and seats of the bus in order to handle the force sustained by the seat belts. Considering the average lifespan of a school bus which is 15 years, this cost may not affect the manufacturers negatively. However, their economic stance relies on more than the cost to manufacture. One thing that concerns the manufacturers is that adding seat belts to these vehicles would create narrower seats. This will not benefit them as there will be a decrease in the rate of passengers that use the vehicles. The mandatory requirement of seat belts may also open up the door for competition. Major manufacturing companies such as Gillig and Bluebird would not appreciate that. For the legal part, manufacturers would need to be more

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