This week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it is endorsing the use of seatbelts on school buses.
The endorsement signals a switch in policy. Previously, the NHTSA claimed that retrofitting school buses with seatbelts would be too costly.
The new policy does not change the control that state and local school districts have in implementing seatbelts and associated rules throughout their bus fleets.
Currently, California is one of six states that requires all school buses manufactured after 2005 to come equipped with seatbelts. Smaller buses have had belts for many years; but newer buses that are larger and transport more students have to come with seatbelts.
There are still many school buses currently being used that don’t carry seatbelts. That might be because the buses were manufactured prior to 2005.
According to one article, a school bus can be on the road for more than 20 years, and can cost more than $200,000 per bus.
Safety advocates and parents alike can laud the NHTSA’s new policy towards this important issue. The last thing parents should expect when sending their children off to school is news that the child was hurt in a bus accident, G0d forbid.
Stay safe on the road, and remember to always wear your seat belt!
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