Should NH school buses have seat belts?

Nov 19, 2015

BY: Citizens Count

Last Sunday the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that school buses should be retrofitted with three-point seat belts.

"The position of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is that seat belts save lives. That is true whether in a passenger car or in a big yellow bus,"said NHTSA Administrator mark Rosekind. 

At this point NHTSA is not looking to change any laws or rules for school buses. However, Rosekind called for "NHTSA, state policy makers, local school districts, manufacturers... [to] start a movement."

In the past, NHTSA has argued that the size of school buses decreases crash forces. Closely-packed seats with energy-absorbing seat backs also create a "protective envelope" around students.  

Opponents of seat belts often cite the significant cost to retrofit school buses. School Transportation News estimates it would cost $7,000 to $16,000 per bus to install three-point seat belts.  

Other opponents note that most school bus-related fatalities involve pedestrians, suggesting that other safety measures would save more lives. For example, school buses could install cameras that record any cars that ignore school bus stop arms and flashing lights.

Do you think New Hampshire school buses should have seat belts? Join the discussion on our Facebook page!

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