Dr. Ruiz Calls for Action on Students in School Buses Without A/C
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. is calling attention to the children in California’s 36th District and across the country who are forced to ride in school buses without A/C during extreme heat temperatures. Citing accounts of children overheating on school buses and the severe heat in Riverside County which reaches over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for four months out of the year, Dr. Ruiz and Representative Kathy Castor (FL-14) last week implored the Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ensure school buses are equipped with air conditioning and climate control systems.
“I received numerous letters from constituents detailing accounts of children distressed from overheating, requesting to get off the school bus for relief and unable to get out,” Dr. Ruiz said. “One former school bus driver wrote to us about the long bus rides – some up to 90 minutes – in this extreme heat that is only intensified by the uninsulated metal cab of the bus. For at least four months out of the year, it is over 100 degrees in the Coachella Valley, sometimes reaching 120 degrees Fahrenheit. These are not conditions suitable for our sons and daughters. I am fighting for the safety of our children to ensure that school buses nationwide in high temperature regions, are equipped with proper air conditioning.”
In a letter to the office of Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., a former school bus driver wrote of the conditions children often endure on their way to and from school. In part, the school bus driver wrote, “I had 5-year-old children, their faces pouring sweat like a waterfall, begging to be let out of the bus as we waited in the lineup after school was out, waiting the required 20 minutes to get everyone on board. I wasn’t allowed to let them out!”
In the letter to Secretary of the Department of Transportation Elaine Chao and Deputy Administrator James Owens of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dr. Ruiz and Rep. Castor call attention to the severe health effects caused by heat-related illness, especially in children, such as heat cramps, exhaustion, and heat stroke.