If you have any concerns about how safe your child will be riding the school bus, put your mind at ease. According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the school bus is the safest vehicle on the roadways today.
Statistically, a child is much safer taking a bus to school, than riding in your car. According to the research, students are 70% more likely to make it to school safely in the bus than by car.
Among the reasons for this is that school busses are designed to be highly visible with flashing red lights, cross-view mirrors, stop-sign arms, and of course the classic yellow color. They also offer protective seating, high crush standards, and rollover protection features.
In addition, there are laws designed to protect all who ride a school bus: It is illegal to pass a school bus while it is dropping off or picking up passengers, regardless of the direction of approach.
What about seat belts?
While seat belts have been required in passenger automobiles since 1968, and virtually every state has a seatbelt law, you will not find seat belts in the passenger seats in most school buses. Currently, only eight states — Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas — have passed laws requiring that seatbelts be installed on school buses (when funding is available in some cases), according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Why is this? Simply put, school buses are designed to protect riders without the need for seatbelts in every seat. School buses are heavier and distribute crash forces differently than passenger cars and trucks. NHTSA has dictated that school buses use “compartmentalization” to protect passengers. Via compartmentalization, riders are protected from crashes by strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs. Smaller busses may be required to have individual seat belts if those buses are similar in size to a passenger truck or car.
Furthermore, school bus drivers are required to submit to rigorous drug testing standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation, for safety-sensitive employees under the Omnibus Safety in Transportation Act of 1991.
When you entrust your child to a school bus ride, the school system is complying with federal guidelines to ensure that your child arrives safely, which is good to know for all of us with children in our lives!
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