The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this week recommended, for the first time, that school buses be equipped with seat belts. While seat belts have been required on passenger cars since 1968, school buses have been exempt from the rule.
Why? According to the NHTSA, “school buses are different by design and use a different kind of safety restraint system that works extremely well.” Large school buses use a safety system called compartmentalization, which features strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs. Therefore, the NHTSA decided, kids can be protected without the need to buckle up.
In addition, bus drivers had expressed concerns about the presence of seat belts on the buses. According to the National Education Association (NEA), drivers fear that students may use the heavy belt buckles as weapons, injuring other passengers; if students don’t have their belts properly fastened, they may be injured by the belts in case of an accident; in cases of emergency evacuation, disoriented students may be trapped by the seat belts.
So what changed?
In a statement, NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind explained that the decision to recommend seat belts on school buses endorses seat belts as “icons of safety,” and “the single most effective thing we can provide to improve the confidence of parents, policymakers and children.”
We want to know what you think. Should seat belts be required on school buses? Vote and tell us your opinion in the comments section below. We will feature the results from the poll and some of your comments on the show.
YES, a student could easily be knocked out by the front if the hard rubber seat.