Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz is joining Representative Kathy Castor (FL-14) in calling for the Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to take action and help students forced to ride in school without A/C during extreme heat temperatures.
Ruiz cited accounts of children overheating on school buses and extreme heat in the county.
“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,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz continued, “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.”
The former school bus driver wrote a letter to Ruiz’s office, saying, “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!”
Ruiz and Castor wrote a letter to Secretary of the Department of Transportation Elaine Chao and Deputy Administrator James Owens of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, calling attention to the severe health effects caused by heat-related illness, especially in children, such as heat cramps, exhaustion, and heatstroke.
Full letter below:
September 30, 2019