As a parent or a guardian, have you noticed that your child’s school bus doesn’t have a seat belt? Do you wonder why?

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In society, wearing seat belts is a requirement and often enforced by law. You will be required to pay a fine if found not using your seat belts. Seat belts are one of the safety features in a vehicle: a belt or strap securing a person to minimize or prevent injury in the case of a crash or accident. If seatbelts are this protective, how come they are not mandated on school buses?

6 Reasons Why Seat Belts Are Not All Required On School Buses

School buses are often considered one of the safest vehicles on the road. They are high, large, heavy and colourful- visible enough to be seen by other vehicles nearby. According to The National Safety Council, school buses are 40 times safer than cars. They also have safety features like flashing lights, stop signs and a stop arm that makes them less likely to be involved in accidents than cars or pedestrians.

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Reports from the National Collision Database showed that between 2009 to 2018, only one fatality related to travelling on a school bus was recorded. This is significantly lower than accident cases recorded from other regular vehicles. This evidence has further suggested that seat belts are not necessarily important in school buses. Below are the top reasons why seat belts are not required in most school buses;

  1. Law Requirements

According to Federal laws, only vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds are required to have and use seat belts. Most passenger vehicles and smaller school buses fall into this class. However, most school buses weigh more than 10,000 pounds and don’t need to have seat belts.

  1. Compartmentalization

School buses provide an alternative safety method referred to as compartmentalization. This means that in school buses, the seats are closely-spaced, high, with energy-absorbing packs. These interior arrangements minimize the impact of a crash/accident if it happens.

  1. Local Travels

In most cases, school buses travel on local routes where the speed limit is below 45mph. It’s rare to find school buses that travel on the highway. Generally, the impact and effect of a collision in the local routes are usually lower compared to collisions on high-speed highways.

  1. Easier Evacuation

If a crash happens, seat belts can prove difficult to unbuckle, making it hard to be free. However, in a school bus with hundreds of children, no seat belts equal easier evacuation if a crash happens.

  1. Seat Belts Might Not Be Easy To Enforce

Children hardly sit still compared to adults. They like to play, have fun and run around. It could be difficult to enforce and monitor seat belts on tens and hundreds of children when the driver is expected to concentrate on the road.

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  1. Seat Belts Could Be Dangerous

Some studies have shown that seat belts could be dangerous for children. For instance, a report from Canada Safety Council says that lap belts could increase the risk of head and neck injuries in a collision, with the head striking the seat at greater force than if the whole body hit the seat. Also, abdominal injuries are likely to occur if a shoulder belt is strapped on in the event of a crash.


Seat belts are obviously a necessity to ensure safety in vehicles. However, school buses, weighing more than 10,00 pounds, have their own design that makes them safe for kids without needing a seat belt. Notwithstanding, debates and research are still ongoing to truly ascertain if all school buses don’t require a seat belt.

What do you think? Should all school buses have a seat belt or otherwise?

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