ANSWERS: 33
  • There are several reasons for the lack of seatbelts in school buses. The countries that use the greatest number of school buses are the US and Canada. Public transit is frequently used elsewhere. Canada does not mandate the use of seatbelts in school buses. Small school buses (<10,000 lb) in the US are required to have seat belts, while larger buses are not. This stems from the belief that larger vehicles offer an increased degree of protection because of their size and design. The passengers in smaller buses, closer in size to cars and light trucks, are deemed to be at more risk in accidents. Seat belts are not required on these vehicles, because it is believed their design provides sufficient structural integrity and protection for the passengers. Some jurisdictions mandate the use of seatbelts, but these are few. The following information was obtained from Transport Canada, "Review of Bus Safety Issues - School Bus Passenger Protection": ---------------------------------------- "There are few instances where seat belts would prevent injury in school buses. Even in those few instances it is not clear that seat belts are the answer. Good information for parents and other interested persons is necessary to support discussion on seat belts for school buses. Seat belts for school buses have been a public issue since seat belts were widely accepted as a major safety solution for cars, occupants of which were, in the early 1970s, being killed at the rate of nearly 7000 per year in Canada. Many parents, parents’ associations and interested people promote school bus seat belts consistent with mandatory use of child restraints and seat belts in cars, which have contributed to the reduction of car occupant deaths to less than 3000 per year. In many instances seat belts would not have prevented the serious injuries that occurred in school buses. These involve direct intrusion into the bus of an object such as another vehicle or, for example, a steel plate from a passing truck. There are, however, individual instances where seat belts could have prevented injury. They involve rollover, ejection and impact with other passengers or the bus interior. There are, then, cases where seat belts could enhance safety. The U.S. has installed seat belts in small school buses (less than 4536 kg GVWR) since the mid 1970s. U.S. states New York and New Jersey install seat belts in all buses and Etobicoke in Canada also has them in all buses. New Jersey has specific requirements for seat belt use as well as their installation. The opportunity for a decision whether to install seat belts arose in the mid 1970s when car seat belt use was becoming mandatory in Canada and school bus occupant protection standards MVSS 217, 220, 221, 222 and 301 were being developed. Wide based consultation led to the conclusion that it would not be practical for Transport Canada to require seat belts to be installed in school buses. This conclusion included small school buses (less than 4536 Kg GVWR) even though the U.S. did then, and does now, require seat belts in those small buses. Why have seat belts not been required in Canadian school buses? Firstly the target cases for safety benefit are few, on average less than one fatality and possibly two or three serious injuries per year. Seat belts are not necessarily the solution for those cases. The findings of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the National Academy of Science in late 1980s studies could not support seat belts, despite some years of experience with small school buses so equipped and large school buses not. The NHTSA concludes that "School bus crash data show that a Federal requirement for belts on buses would provide little, if any, added protection in a crash". Secondly, the comprehensively designed passenger protection system introduced in 1980 by CMVSS 217, 220, 221, 222 and 301 works2. Transport Canada testing shows that superimposed seat belts introduce different potential hazards, such as neck and facial injury, unless seats are redesigned for a different dynamic. The testing carried out to date has not considered all ages, sizes and physical developments of children riding in school buses, the smaller and younger of whom would be recommended to use child restraints in cars. This becomes more of an issue as preschool children seem to be increasingly using school bus transport. Seat belts could possibly diminish the existing passenger protection by being a potential cause of injury in a severe impact, for which the present passive passenger protection was designed and is effective. Some advocate three point seat belts to minimize such potential. Three point seat belts are significantly more complex and have their own safety problems, such as ease of use, which is necessary to encourage wearing, and safe fit for a wide variety of passengers. Thirdly, even the best seat belts enhance safety only if properly worn. The feasibility of overall seat belt management is therefore a safety issue. A local school board deciding to install seat belts without a comprehensive program to ensure their proper use would, in the event of a potentially tragic crash happening in that jurisdiction, fail to realize the intended benefit. Experience where seat belts are available, such as in Etobicoke, suggests that very young children will use them as instructed but that use diminishes into the secondary school age. New Jersey, with its mandated seat belt use, believes its use rate to be better than 50%. One major school bus crash since requiring seat belt use was inconclusive in providing information about the benefits of seat belts. Cost of initial seat belt installation is almost certainly a minor factor compared with the cost of a new bus. Operational implications are more significant." ---------------------------------------- Such are the words of Transport Canada, whether you agree with them of not. I am not completely convinced. There is potential for a small safety improvement. On the other hand, this would place a legal responsibility on the operator of the bus to ensure that all students use the seat belts properly. Since drivers are unable to keep children quiet, I'm not certain how effective they would be in keeping them belted. Nor would the students who use public transit be protected in any way. The number of deaths in the most serious school bus accident that I have encountered would not have been lower if seat belts had been provided. Belts don't do much if you are hit by a train (after vandals had tampered with signals at a level crossing).
  • Well, actually I once talked with my kid's school bus driver (he has 20 years on the job) and he told me that several attempts have been made, and the main reason they do not have them is not traffic regulations, or the size of the bus.....but the use the kids give to them. In short.....they use the seat belts as weapons. 1. They used them as whips, and the metallic latches have proven to be very dangerous to make cuts, puncture eyes and the sort. 2. They use them as strangle devices, putting them around the necks of other children. 3. Is almost impossible to make them use the belts. Even if they are there, there is no way to make the kids use them. They try a system that would not allow the bus to accelerate until all the seat belts were being used......2 problems, the driver would have to click all of the ones on empty seats (or sensors must be used on the seats), and the other one is that after the inspection some kids would take them off.....in short the bus would never depart. According to these driver, they are thinking in California, US, to use something sort of the things you use on a ride on Disney (you know these things that come from the top, above your shoulders and get your chest and abdomen, which would function automatically, but the main concern is that they can stuck in an accident, and need a control pannel to open/close specific ones on every bus stop. Believe it or not, the kids are the problem....and if you think about it makes sense.....I have one kid only and is a nightmare to make him use the seat belt in our car. Imagine trying to do so with 20 or 30 (i will just become plain crazy). And you have to see what are the uses that he give to the seat belt....I mean the glass is there yet because is thick. You get the idea ;)
  • Another reason that school buses don't have seat belts is that there is usually only one adult on the bus and in an emergency it would take a long time to help all the children that couldn't get the belt off because they were scared or injured.
  • I am from Ireland and my school bus has seat belts. From september 2006 it will be the law that every school bus will have to have seat belts.
  • I live in Australia, and seat belts where not compulsory on school buses. Well there's been several accidents whaich have killed or badly injured students but these have occured in different states of Australia. State laws and federal laws are different from state to state. But recently the federal government ordered that all school buses must have seat belts. I guess the "who's going to pay for this" delayed seat belt being put in all buses for some years. I would guess that The federal government of the United States of America need to do the same thing.
  • I live in the UK and many school buses do have seatbelts. I have the misfortune of travelling to work on one of them. Hoever, I rarely see anyone (adult or child) actually using them. The few occasions I have seen kids use them, they were teased mercilessly by other children. (Yeh, that's what I thought, but kids are weird) So maybe that's why authorities in other countries aren't prepared to spend the money on something that is unlikely to be used consistently. Just a theory.
  • I have read the other responses to this question. each response was excellent, but no one seem to give the real reason school buses do not have seat belts. its called money. to equip every school bus, in america with seat belts, would be a staggering figure. some local governments could not afford the seat belts, even if the federal government paid 50% of the cost. what price can you place on the life of a child?
  • I live in NY, and when I was in school all the busses had seat belts. No one wore them though....... ever........
  • My previous answer was the cost involved, meaning this.........the government alway seems to pay more for everything. remember the 1.80 hammers that cost the government 80.00 each? same applies to the purchase and installing seat belts. this was my point. if one seat belt cost you and i, say, 45.00, the government will pay 300.00 for each. it happens all the time. end
  • I've often wondered that myself. To assume that the kids would not willingly use seat belts is most likely correct. But I fail to see why compliance could not be enforced, especially since seat belts really do save lives. I am living proof. I was recently in an accident where another driver hit on the passenger side. My husband and I were in our SUV, which are notorious for flipping over when struck broadside. This is exactly what happened. Fortunately, neither of us was hurt, and the police officers who arrived on the scene said our seatbelts were the only thing that saved us from fatal or severe injury. I can't imagine 40 or 50 youngsters sitting unharnessed in a school bus that would be involved in a collision. I would think bus drivers should have the authority to insist that each child be buckled up, or not move the bus an inch until that happens. Letting kids have their way about noncompliance over something that's so vital to their safety and welfare is just plain ridiculous. One wonders what those children's classroom behavior is like. Don't teachers have authority to maintain order in their classrooms? By the same token, so should school bus drivers.
  • I live in Australia too and yes the Gov is planning to impilment the seat belt laws in buss's. But let me ask you all, will it save lives? I say depending on what type of accident, and whom will be wearing the seat belts? If the bus has 4 x 12 rows of seats and everyone is belted in and the bus goes on it's side, at least 12 kids will be killed. Last night in Egypt, a bus went all over the place and the roof peeled off, six dead. Had the people been belted in, at least 12 would have been dead., as the bus must of skidded while on it's side. There is no way anyone can enforce the use of seat belts in a bus and I think it should be a presonal use in a private car too. If you are at fault while driving a car and not use the seat belt, you should get compo for your hospital treatment, but no other compo. If you were in the right of the accident and wearing the seat bealt at the time, you should also receive compo for pain and suffering.
  • Because if there is an accident it would take way too long for the one adult that is normally on the bus to get everyone out.
  • They've always felt them unnecessary up until recent years.
  • They do, at least the newer models built for New Jersey schools.
  • Probably they are required to go at minimum speed.
  • I like the explanation given by "The straight Dope" Some excerpts: "...High seat backs don't help much when a bus is hit from the side or rolls over, and some people think more should be done. The national Parent-Teacher Association, for example, has called for seat belts on new buses. The federal government recently began a two-year investigation of school bus safety that will likely result in new precautions. According to Education Week more than two dozen state legislatures have considered mandatory seat belts over the years, although only New York and New Jersey currently require them. Seat belts wouldn't necessarily make buses safer. On the contrary, some believe they would increase the number of serious injuries. Shoulder harnesses aren't practical in buses as currently designed, and lap belts are likely to cause more head and abdominal injuries because in a collision the wearer is jerked forward from the waist. " Here's the complete story: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a981106a.html
  • I heard years ago that it was because there are usually lots of kids on the bus, but only 1 or 2 adults, and if there was an accident where there was fire or the chance of fire, the adults wouldn't be able to help all the kids out of their seat belts in time. I don't know if that's really the case or not, but it's what I heard.
  • I've always heard it was because the seats are so high...I don't understand how that would help though...especially if the bus tips over! LOL
  • It's not cost effective to protect peoples' lives until they become taxpayers.
  • I would think that it would be almost impossible to get all the kids to wear them. You can't honestly expect the bus driver to be responsible for getting all the kids to buckle up.
  • cost was the first and foremost issue. as it was with air conditioning.
  • Too expensive, and not enough kids would wear them
  • population control
  • I don't know you tell me because I wonder the same thing. If it is state law for everyone to wear them, but then little kids get on a bus and don't even have them,makes no sense to me.
  • They have to have them here in Ireland.
  • Some school buses here in the U.K have them but it isn't law to have them fitted.
  • No federal law that exists mandating seat belts be installed in regular school buses. State and local authorities are allowed to install them if they wish, but with an estimated cost of around $1500 per bus to install seat belts, why would they? The law says it’s okay not to have them, so why fix what’s not broke? Parents and other citizens are concerned. The National Parent Teacher Association has asked that seat belts be installed in every new school bus. Parents are not unreasonably worried. Every year over 41,000 lives are lost in automobile accidents. It is not irrational to assume that children would be better protected if buckled up on their way to school and home. Seat belt advocates list several major reasons for requiring seat belts in school buses: * Reduce the number of injuries and fatalities in collisions * Reduce the number of non-collision injuries children sustain from sticking their arms and heads out of windows and falling out of their seats * Improve behavior of children on buses by keeping children seated * Reinforce the message to “Buckle Up” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires all new school buses to meet safety requirements above those of passenger cars. These include improved emergency exits, seating, fuel systems, and joint stability. The administration is responsible for establishing federal safety standards for all motor vehicles, and works with states on school bus safety programs. Nevertheless, the NHTSA does not currently require seat belts to be installed in school buses. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has concluded that seat belts would provide little, if any, added protection for children involved a school bus accident. In 1987, the NTSB concluded in a study that most fatal injuries caused by school bus collisions were due to seating positions in direct line of impact, and that seat belts would not have prevented most of these tragedies. Because there is no compelling evidence that seat belts would provide added safety for school bus occupants, and because of the outstanding safety record of school buses, the NHTSA has concluded that there is insufficient evidence for requiring safety belts to be installed. Several additional factors determine the stance against mandating seat belts on school buses.
  • They do here in the UK. Whether or not the litte darlings use them is another matter.
  • They do in some states, in NY State every school bus has to have seat belts, however kids do not have to wear them unless the district or county the school is in designates they have to be worn, in NYC and two or three other locals in NY they have to be worn. The reason is there has not been proof whether it is safer for kids to wear belts or not in the event of a major accident. The fact that wearing seat belts would make the job easier for school bus drivers is not taken into the mix when making this decisian.
  • you say they would not wear them they would or they would not ride
  • yes they should and if they use them in any other manner other than seatbelts or they don't use them don't let them ride the bus. have the parents help control there kids.
  • I drive a school bus so I am speaking from experience. I would be 100% for seat belts for all children in a school bus. Drivers are required to wear a seat belt. What if there is an accident or a fire in the bus? Unlike in a private car I have 25 to 50 children in my bus at any time. In any kind of accident the children go into total panic. They are screaming, crying, and out of control! We are required to get the children out of the bus in 3 to 5 minutes. A bus on fire will be completely engulfed in 5 minutes. How may I ask will one bus driver get 25 or more children out of seat belts and out of the door in under 5 minutes? Even with a seat belt cutter the driver would be doing super unbelievable to get 6 super panicked children out of their seat belt and out of the bus in 5 minutes. Seat belts would be great but what if they kill more than help? Think about it.
  • thats a really good question, ive wondered about why regular buses dont seem to have them either

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