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Are School Buses Safe?

Are School Buses Safe?

If you’re a parent, you may question whether school buses are actually safe. Is it safer if you drive your kids to school? Are children required to buckle up on school buses? After all, you know that you’re a good driver, so doesn’t that mean that your kids are probably safer if you drive them to school? These are the types of questions that go through parents’ minds all the time. Read on as we clear this up for you once and for all.

“The school bus is the safest vehicle on the road – your child is much safer taking a bus to and from school than traveling by car. Although four to six school-age children die each year on school transportation vehicles, that’s less than one percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

School Buses Are Safer Than Regular Buses

The NHTSA believes that school buses should be extremely safe, which is why the agency’s safety standards for school buses are much higher than they are for regular, non-school buses. In fact, the NHTSA reports that students are 70 times more likely to arrive at school safely when they take a school bus versus when they are taken to school in a car.

Why are school buses so much safer for kids? Because they are “the most regulated vehicles on the road,” according to the NHTSA. What’s more, they’re designed to be safer than regular cars, trucks, and SUVs to prevent crashes and injuries.

What About Seat Belts?

You have probably noticed how on standard school buses, there probably aren’t any seat belts. Isn’t that a safety concern? The NHTSA says that while seatbelts have been required on motor vehicles since 1968, school buses are designed differently and therefore have a different safety design, which does not rely on seat belts.

“NHTSA decided the best way to provide crash protection to passengers of large school buses is through a concept called “compartmentalization.” This requires that the interior of large buses protect children without them needing to buckle up. Through compartmentalization, children are protected from crashes by strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs,” according to the NHTSA.

Small school buses that weigh less than 10,000 pounds, on the other hand, are equipped with seat belts since they’re smaller and have a different safety design than larger busses. To maximize safety in small school buses, children must wear seat belts. To read up on South Carolina’s seat belt laws, click here.


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