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Some 25 million students nationwide begin and end their day with a trip on a school bus. Designed for safety, with flashing lights, giant mirrors, high seat backs and that bright yellow color, school buses keep more than 17 million cars away from school buildings every day.
While riding a bus to school is safer than riding in the family vehicle or walking, the National Safety Council supports the incorporation of lap and shoulder belts in school buses – and across multiple modes of transportation – to ensure the safest ride for children.
Since 2002, passenger lap and shoulder belts have been made available on school buses; California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas require them.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated its support for lap and shoulder belts on buses in 2015, and NSC has joined in support of this position. NSC also recommends states or school districts consider this added safety benefit when purchasing buses.
In 2012, a
side impact crash involving a school bus and a commercial vehicle in Chesterfield, NJ, resulted in the death of one student and serious injuries to others. Lap belts were available but some students did not use them. The difference in safety is clear, as seen
in this simulation.
NSC also is callling for children age 2 and younger to be properly restrained in their own seat on airplanes, and encourages ambulances, police vehicles and recreational vehicles to accommodate the unique needs of child passengers.
Learn more about this new NSC policy.
School buses are the safest way for students to travel, but children also need to do their part to stay alert and aware of their surroundings to prevent injury. NSC urges parents to teach their children the following safety rules for getting on and off the bus, and for exercising good behavior while riding.
More school-age pedestrians have been killed during the hour before and after school than any other time of day, according to NHTSA. And, although drivers are required by law to stop for a school bus when it's loading or unloading passengers, they often don't. Children should not rely on them to do so.
The National Safety Council is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization.