Buckle up kids: NTSB recommends safety belts on all new school buses

Posted at 1:19 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 09:45:59-04

(RNN) – It’s time to buckle up on the bus.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a recommendation to states on Tuesday that all new large school buses should be equipped with lap and shoulder seat belts.

“The recommendations that we issued and reiterated today, if acted on, will help ensure that new school buses are manufactured with tried and true occupant protection such as lap-shoulder belts, as well as collision avoidance technology such as automatic emergency braking,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made a similar recommendation in 2015.

“NHTSA’s policy is that every school bus should have a three-point seat belt,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said. “NHTSA will seek to use all the tools at our disposal to help achieve that goal.”

Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas have passed school bus seat belt laws, but funding hasn’t been approved in all the states.

In 2017, at least 29 states introduced bills that would address seat belts on school buses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Even without safety belts, school buses protect children pretty well.

NHTSA said, on average, six students die in school bus crashes each year, compared to approximately 2,000 children who are killed annually in motor vehicle accidents.

“Safety demands oversight that puts lives first—the lives of our children, of other road users, and of the drivers themselves,” Sumwalt said.

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