John D wrote:While on the topic of auto safety.... my pet peeve is the number of people (and States) that think we should have seat belts in buses. Buses are safer without seat belts.
Interesting. It always annoyed me that buses did not have seat belts.
Does this equally apply to both greyhound buses zooming across the interstates as it does low speed school buses?
I was looking for a good technical paper on-line, but they are all behind pay walls. There are a few things going on that I can summarize.
1) Buses have a statistically extremely good safety record. Mile per mile they are even safer than flying (which is significantly safer than driving a car). Buses are 40 times less likely to kill you than a car (measured mile-per-mile).
2) With such a good safety record we need to look at what really kills people on a bus. In most cases a seat belt will not help. Usually bus death are caused by very dramatic events such as driving off the road or getting hit by a train. In these cases, seat belts will have limited utility. The purpose of a seat belt is to keep you in the car. Many car deaths (without seat belts used) are caused by ejection. The driver is tossed out of the car before any of the kinetic energy can be dissipated. Keeping you in the car improves your chances of having your kinetic energy dissipated by hitting parts of the car rather than a fucking bridge abutment. Almost no bus deaths are caused by ejection. They are cause by massive impingement into the passenger area. When impingement is the problem, seat belts can actually make the problem worse.
3) There is also a secondary issue of the benefit of rapid egress. Many people have lived to see another day because they could quickly get off a burning bus. Imagine a child in a seat belt trying to escape a fire... not good. Some lives are saved when people quickly exit a bus when it is on train track, on fire, etc.
Some US states require new buses to have belts. There is NO DATA that shows belts are helpful for buses. In fact, they may actually be more dangerous overall. States that require seat belts are doing so because of pressure from ignorant parents and politicians saying "think of the children."