Arts & Humanities
Six states require school buses to have seat belts, but the debate is on in many other states.
You might share the video above with students. This Embrace Life" video has gone viral on YouTube; it has been viewed nearly 3 million times. After sharing the video, ask students what they feel is the videos primary message. (In the video, a car crash scenario is simulated by a father, mother, and daughter. The mother and daughter use their arms to represent the seat belt and shoulder harness that saves their husband/father when a car crash occurs.) Ask students if the video is a good way to drive home the importance of wearing seat belts. Many people think this video serves as a powerful reminder without scaring people. They say it is unlike the heavy-handed approaches -- for example, scaring people with a lot of warnings and statistics -- that are often used. Do your students agree?
Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: injuries, require, embankment, package, attempt, and statistics. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:
Read the News
Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Should School Buses Have Seat Belts?.
More Facts to Share
Seat belts have been required on passenger cars since 1968. Only one state -- New Hampshire -- does not currently have a law that requires passenger car drivers and passengers to buckle up. Many states have used the successful "Click It or Ticket" program to help drive home the importance of buckling up before driving.
Only six states have passed laws that require seat belts in school buses. New York was the first state to pass a seat belt law for school buses. Other states with such laws are New Jersey, California, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. A few school districts across the country have installed seat belts on their buses without a state law that requires it.
After a recent school bus fatality, Connecticut State Representative Tony Guerrera introduced a bill that would mandate the installation of lap and shoulder seat belts (three-point safety restraint systems) in Connecticut school buses by January 2011. "Every day, we put our children on a school bus, and the school bus drivers, they have seat belts," Guerrera told ABC News. "You and I travel to work in vehicles that have seat belts and airbags. But for some reason, when it comes to the children, we don't have a mechanism in place"
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), school buses are among the safest forms of transportation and school bus carriers have a remarkable safety record. According to NHTSA reports, large school buses are heavier and distribute crash forces differently than other vehicles; crash forces experienced by occupants of buses are much less than those experienced by occupants of passenger cars, light trucks, or vans. NHTSA suggests the best way to provide crash protection to passengers of large school buses is through a concept called compartmentalization," which provides crash protection via strong, closely-spaced seats with energy-absorbing seat backs.
Installing seat belts on school buses could cost $7,000 to $11,000 per bus, NHTSA officials say. They worry about enforcement of such laws, too. Would a driver have to stop the bus, get up from his or her seat, and perform a seat-belt check? In addition, some people fear that seat belts could trap" students in dangerous evacuation situations.
Seat belt proponents say buckling up is the best way to truly protect riders. They point to one company, IMMI, which sells an integrated seating system that lets drivers know which seat belts are not properly buckled. New systems such as these are being installed on all new Greyhound buses, a company official says.
Use the News
Use the News: Answer Key
Reading Comprehension: Making a Case. 1. NI, 2. NI, 3. NI, 4. I, 5. NI, 6. NI, 7. I, 8. I, 9. NI, 10. I.
Language Practice: Word Meaning. 1.b, 2.d, 3.b, 4.c.
Reading Comprehension: Main Idea. b -- Some people say seat belts are needed on school buses, but others say they arent.
Use the Use the News comprehension check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page.
Lesson Plan SourceEducation World
LANGUAGE ARTS: English
GRADES K - 12
NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills
PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND HEALTH: Health
GRADES K - 4
NPH-H.K-4.1 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
NPH-H.K-4.3 Reducing Health Risks
NPH-H.K-4.7 Health Advocacy
GRADES 5 - 8
NPH-H.5-8.1 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
NPH-H.5-8.3 Reducing Health Risks
NPH-H.5-8.7 Health Advocacy
GRADES 9 - 12
NPH-H.9-12.1 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
NPH-H.9-12.3 Reducing Health Risks
NPH-H.9-12.7 Health Advocacy
See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.
Article by Gary Hopkins
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