Seat belts on school buses has been a hotly-debated topic for decades. Everyone wants to weigh in - from kids to administrators, parents to bus drivers, bus manufacturers to the transportation industry.
Cost, safety, and “Would kids actually wear them?” all play major factors. According to SafeGuard4Kids.com, at least 6 states (California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana) require seat belts to be installed on their new buses. Obviously, these states find them worthwhile. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of outfitting school buses with seat belts.
Advocates of belts on buses interpret available crash-test and case-study data as indicating that belts provide improved crash protection and are beneficial especially in side-impacts and roll-overs. They could also provide a reduction in injuries to out-of-position students that would be kept in their seats by the belts.
Less Distracted Drivers
It is speculated that seat belts implemented in buses would lead to improved behavior in passengers, thus less distractions for drivers. Keeping students in their seats also has the potential to lessen bullying which oftentimes occurs on the bus. With the help of seating charts, bus drivers can strategically place troublemakers away from their targets.
Use of seat belts in school buses would reinforce seat belt usage across the board. Babies come home from the hospital being strapped into car seats and later grow up riding in cars in booster seats. They are used to being strapped in, so implementing them in buses would be an extension of this lifelong critical habit.
Regardless of your opinions on the issue, we can all agree that we want students to be safe - with or without seat belts.