Editorial: Equal reaction
In many cases, Connecticut can be a reactionary state.
Something happens -- fluke or otherwise -- and we throw on a Band-aid to fix it, whether the solution is logical or not. Just ask anyone driving through Connecticut for the first time what he or she thinks about all the stop signs, many of which were installed in reaction to an accident on that road.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed a bill this recently that would help school districts equip their buses with three-point lap-and-shoulder seat belts.
Rell admits that the measure is a reaction to a Jan. 9 bus crash on Interstate 84, which killed a 16-year-old student who was ejected from a bus that was not equipped with seat belts. However in this case, the reaction does have merit.
Although students have been riding in buses for years without seatbelts -- and overall, accidents have been minor -- that doesn't necessarily mean that the practice should continue. In other words, there's no harm in wearing the belts, and instead they could prove life-saving in the (hopefully unlikely) event of an accident.
Of course, bus companies will have a higher sales tax to pay for buses equipped with the belts, but the point of this program is to help offset that cost.
According to Rell's office, this program won't even cost the taxpayers too much. It will be funded by the increase in fees charged to those who need to restore a suspended or revoked driver's license or vehicle registration.
Scheduled to run through at least 2018, the program is designed to rotate new vehicles in long enough that by the program's end (if it is not extended), a large portion of the buses on the road can be equipped with the belts.
Though we're not in favor of creating inane solutions to overblown problems -- just for the sake of promoting public relations -- this solution seems to be well-thought-out and appropriate. It has a minimal impact on the taxpayers, but maximum impact on the lives of their children.
We applaud this piece of legislation and hope to see it adopted quickly.