Should There be Seatbelts on School Busses?

Should There be Seatbelts on School Busses?

Ben Jensen, Journalist

Since the 1920’s, the United States has utilized school buses so that students can have an accessible way to get to school. The school bus itself was designed to hold around 60 children at once, 2 for each seat. It features its signature yellow color, flexible stop signs with flashing lights, and many emergency exits. However, the modern school bus has a major flaw; in fact, this flaw could have prevented serious injuries and deaths. This flaw is that there are no seatbelts on the bus, besides for the driver.


Seatbelts are a critical feature of a modern car. It protects us from serious injury during a car accident and has saved countless lives. So why aren’t seatbelts on school buses? According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the best way to provide crash protection for passengers on a school bus is through “compartmentalization”. Which means that the interior of the buses, like the compacted seats, will protect the passengers from a crash. However, there have been hundreds of cases where students are thrown out of their seats and tossed around a bus during an accident. 


In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a drag racer, going roughly 65-80 mph, if not more, slammed into a school bus and caused it to fall to its side. Seven students had to be taken to the hospital and two of them had to get surgery to repair broken bones. When the police released the video of the inside of the bus during the crash, students can be seen being ejected from their seats and tossed to one side of the bus. Every single student was thrown around the bus. 


California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas have already made laws for fitting school buses, purchased after a certain date, with seatbelts. In many of these laws, in the event of an accident, the driver and the passengers will be held responsible if they’re not wearing the seatbelts. In many cases, it is to be expected for many of the passengers to ignore or not wear the belts at all. Many passengers get up and move to another seat to sit next to a friend, or they find the belt uncomfortable to wear. The drivers may have to enforce the new seatbelt rule strictly, and possibly set up a seating chart for students and other passengers. 


According to a study published in 2010, school buses that have been fitted with seatbelts have shown to be far safer and beneficial than a bus without seatbelts. As of now, no other state has made or passed any laws that allow buses to be fitted with seatbelts. For the safety of passengers and students alike, seatbelts should be put on school buses because compartmentalization is a nonviable and dangerous alternative for no seatbelts. With this, students and passengers will be safer riding on the bus and in the event of an accident, all injuries will not be severe.