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Why don't school buses have mandatory seat belts?

By October 1, 2008 - 2:56pm
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My kids are all too young to be on a school bus but I am at a loss as to why it's ok not to have seat belts on school buses!

I can get arrested for not strapping my kids in properly - and in approved baby seats and boosters also. Yet it's safe to not have a Kindergartner on a bus with nothing to hold him or her in?

Does anyone know if there are any laws on the books to change this?

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Bargain lover, I agree. The thought doesn't make sense to us when we strap our infants in from Day One, only to turn them "loose" on a big school bus with no seatbelts.

Here's some background on the issue from the National Coalition for School Bus Safety:


Buses that weigh more than 10,000 pounds are built with a feature called "compartmentalization," meaning they are built to restrain passengers with well-padded, closely spaced seats that protect passengers in compartments much like an egg carton protects eggs. However, serious side-impact or rollover accidents leave small passengers vulnerable. Here's more about that:


And here's a link to a 2005 USA Today story after a school bus crash that discusses the relative degrees of safety between school buses, adult drivers, walking, bicycling and teen drivers:


New York, New Jersey, Florida, California, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas currently have school bus seat belt laws on the books. Some are effective now, others are effective as new buses are purchased in the future.

October 2, 2008 - 8:29am
EmpowHER Guest

You know, this has always bothered me. Especially whenever I hear of kids in school buses being injured or killed in accidents. Actually, when my kids were younger, I always made sure I was a volunteer chaperone/helper on school field trips and I drove my kids to the field trip locations rather than having them go on the bus. I know that seems paranoid, but I lost my brother in a car accident when we were teenagers (not bus related) and I'm just a little more sensitive when it comes to car safety because of it. Plus I didn't want my kids to say that they no longer needed seat belts in my car since they didn't need them in a school bus.....

October 1, 2008 - 3:35pm
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