In the aftermath of a school bus crash into a bridge that killed the driver and a 5-year-old, Michael LaRocco, the Indiana education department's director of school transportation, says he would love to require safety belts on every school bus, but the state just can't afford it:
LaRocco said it would cost about $160 million to equip all of Indiana's 16,000 school buses with effective restraints, and neither the state nor individual districts can shoulder that cost, even incrementally.
"I like the idea of them," LaRocco said. "But in a realistic world, it's just not reasonably functional for us to do that."
But there's an even better reason than the cost not to make seat belts mandatory -- doing so wouldn't necessarily enhance safety:
When the NEA members with the most hand-on experience in bus safety — bus drivers — are asked, most of those who have expressed an opinion on the question are strongly opposed to seat belts. And the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has found that seat belts would not add to the safety of school bus passengers.
1. Very costly.
2. Not effective.
3. Next topic, please.