Ask Trooper Rob: Why don’t school buses have seat belts?Published 9:23pm Thursday, October 4, 2012
I was asking my bus driver why school buses don’t have seatbelts, and she told me that was a tough question. She is also curious. Can you answer this?
— Katelynn from Niles
Thank you for the question, Katelynn. We, as car seat technicians, are often asked this. The term is “compartmentalization.” The construction of higher seat backs and the shorter seats creates an “egg carton” effect for children riding in the bus seats. You are very safe riding on the bus. There are some buses that, because of their size and riders, have safety belts.
Troopers James DeLoach, 26, and Steven Niewiek, 24, were patroling in car 2712 at approximately 11 p.m. Feb. 1, 1992, when they overheard Oakland County Dispatch report that an off-duty trooper was in trouble and needed assistance at the Deer Lake Inn.
They responded to the call, traveling northbound on Scott Lake Road with their overhead light and siren operating.
Witnesses reported the patrol car passed a line of six vehicles that had stopped for the flashing lights and crossing gates at the Canadian-National North America railroad crossing just south of Winton Road.
Car 2712 pulled into the southbound lane of Scott Lake Road to pass these vehicles, slowed almost to a stop at the tracks, then accelerated around the crossing gates into the path of an eastbound train. The patrol car exploded on impact and was thrown approximately 400 feet east and north of the crossing.
Several citizens pulled Niewiek from the passenger side of the flaming wreck, but they were unable to extricate DeLoach, who was pinned in the driver’s seat. Flames and exploding ammunition prevented further rescue attempts. It was later determined DeLoach died instantly upon impact.
Niewiek was transported to Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital, where he died during surgery at about 4:45 a.m. Feb. 2, 1992.
Waterford Township Police Department investigated the patrol car-train accident.
DeLoach, who enlisted in the MSP on Aug. 20, 1989, was the 42nd MSP trooper to die in the line of duty. He was posthumously awarded the Memorial Medal and is buried in Holt.
Niewiek, who enlisted in the MSP on Jan. 21, 1990, was the 43rd MSP trooper to die in the line of duty. He was also awarded, posthumously, the Memorial Medal and is buried in Byron Center.
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