Federal Transportation Panel Recommends Seat Belts on All School Buses

On May 22, a federal transportation panel recommended that all new large school buses come equipped with both lap and shoulder seat belts. The recommendation comes after two deadly 2016 bus crashes prompted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) an investigation.

The announcements of its findings prompt 42 states that don’t require seat belts on large school buses to add them. Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, just six states required school buses to come equipped with seat belts. However, under the new recommendations, four of those states will need to upgrade from lap belts to shoulder belts.

In addition to seat belt upgrades, the NTSB’s recommendations affect bus manufacturing. The agency recommended to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that school buses made in 2018 must be “equipped with collision avoidance systems and automatic emergency braking technologies.”

For decades, the NHTSA held the stance that seat belts were not necessary on school buses—except on small buses. The longstanding reason is that kids are safe in large bus collisions because of the compact seating. Additionally, seats on large buses absorb most of the impact during a crash. Statistically speaking, kids are 70 times more likely to arrive safely at school on a bus than they are in a car.

The recommendations do not require refitting older school buses with seat belts. The recommendations will also not affect government agencies or the transportation industry.

A Guide to School Bus Accident Claims

If your child has been injured by a school bus, claims can often be complicated to prove and pursue. Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will go over the circumstances of the accident and explain your legal options. We have a team of attorneys, legal assistants, nurses and private investigators who are ready to assist.


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