On Your Side Safety Check: Should school buses have seat belts?

Federal data shows school buses are the most regulated vehicles
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 6:35 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 12:18 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There are new questions about whether seatbelts are necessary on school buses after eight high school students were hurt when their school bus crashed with a tractor-trailer hauling cars in Birmingham.

WBRC FOX6 News is On Your Side with a Safety Check and found out school buses are the most regulated vehicle on the road.

Everything about a school bus is designed with safety in mind, from the color to grab drivers’ attention, to the space between seats.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration determined that the best way to protect students on a school bus is through safety standards called compartmentalization. According to NHTSA, “children are protected from crashes by strong, closely -spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs.”

The National Transportation Safety Board said this design keeps students protected much like eggs in a carton, but it is now recommended schools purchase buses with lap/shoulder seat belts.

A handful of states, not including Alabama, require seatbelts in school buses.

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