Students regularly throw safety under the bus

Seat belts go unused by riders on CHS school buses, despite posed risks


Blot graphic by Lauren Tarigo

Survey of 86 students from Oct. 14 to Oct. 28, 2019.

Sally Ehlers and Jacqueline Litowinsky

When sophomore Hannah Schwartzberg of Ocean sits on the bus each day, the simple click of her seat belt rings throughout her otherwise quiet bus. 

“No one else wears a seat belt on my bus,” Schwartberg said. “When I click the seat belt, I feel awkward because I’m the only person who wears one, and I feel like people judge me, which shouldn’t be a thing.”

The Safety and Training Supervisor at Durham School Services, Sherry Daly, said that students should always wear seat belts on school buses to ensure their safety. Daly explained that state law requires the bus company to have drivers tell students to put on seat belts at least once. However, bus drivers cannot force students to wear them.

“No driver can actually seat belt a child other than a preschool child,” Daly said.

An Inkblot survey of 86 CHS students from October 14 to October 28 found that 87.2 percent do not wear seat belts on the bus while only 12.8 percent do. 

Wall Township Board of Education bus driver, Anne Beckert, follows the practices described by Daly.

“Students are always supposed to use seat belts,” Beckert said. “I mention that students should be wearing them every time before we pull out of the parking lot.”

Senior Julia Rocco of Marlboro explains that when she used to ride the bus, some bus drivers were not as strict as Beckert in regards to seat belt use.

“It depended on the bus driver, but I had some who were really strict and some that were more lenient,” Rocco said. “Not that they opposed to us wearing our seatbelts, but they didn’t tell us to put one on either.”

Although seat belts are a recommended safety precaution, junior Catherine Procyck of Colts Neck chooses not to wear her seat belt.  

“Wearing a seat belt isn’t really enforced on my bus, so I don’t wear one,” Procyk said. “It’s a pretty short ride for me anyway.”

While some may not agree with it, Schwartzberg provides insight behind her decision to always wear a seat belt. 

“I just think, ‘At the end of the day, if we get into an accident, then I’m the one living,’” Schwartzberg said.