A lot of parents may not realize it, but children are extremely safe while
riding in school buses. A child is far more likely to be injured in a
car crash while their parent drives them to school than they are to be injured while
riding the bus to school.
“Once a bus begins rolling down the road, a child is, statistically
speaking, safer inside the bus than outside it,” according to
USA Today. “Of the 327 school-age children killed in school-transportation-related
crashes since 2004, 54 were children riding in buses. Accidents involving
these vehicles, NHTSA found, are almost three times as deadly for occupants
of the other vehicles,”
USA Today reported.
Despite the fact that school bus accidents are very rare in the United
States, parents can’t help but wonder, “Wouldn’t my
child be safer if they had to wear a seat belt on the bus?” In February 2016,
Governing Magazine had this to say: “Only one state follows the new federal recommendation
for seat belts in school buses. That could change soon, but money remains
Los Angeles School Busses Have Seat Belts
As of February 2016, Los Angeles Unified School District was one of the
few districts in America to have seat belts on their school busses, but
hopefully more (and more) districts will do the same in the future. In
2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began
recommending that students wear lap and shoulder belts on school busses,
but NHTSA did not propose a mandate at that time. A number of state legislators
however, do have bills on the books.
In February of 2016, California was the only state to enact a law that
required all new busses to be manufactured with lap and shoulder belts.
This law was enacted in 2004 and 2005. “There’s not going
to be a magic new source of funding,” said Charlie Hood, the executive
director of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation
Services. “But we think we’re going to see a lot more conversation
and movement in this direction.”
At this point, most of the proposed state laws are calling to have seat
belts routinely installed in new school busses. Retrofitting the current
busses would not be cost-effective because it usually means the seat frames
would have to be replaced, according to Hood.
Governing Magazine reported that South Carolina and West Virginia are among a handful of
states that had introduced legislation to strengthen the existing seat
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