School Bus Seat Belts: Can They Truly Improve Safety?



School bus seat belt is a much discussed issue for more than a decade. Still, people are not clear about the benefits of seat belts. It is indeed a hot topic for school bus drivers, administrators, and bus manufacturers. Some reputed schools have already installed seat belts, as they think of it as a part of ensuring school bus safety.

Even though there are modern technologies such as school bus GPS to ensure student safety, additional protection in the form of a seat belt might make a lot of difference. Or, do they? Let us first analyse the benefits of using seat belts in school buses.

The following are some benefits associated with seat belt installation:

Attributes Protection in Times of Crash

Usually, school bus manufacturers demonstrate how seat belts become useful in crash situations, especially for the one that cause side impacts and roll over. Wondering how it becomes useful in crash situations? It helps you to reduce the accident injuries by keeping them on the seats itself. Without seat belts, your child will be thrown out during crashes.

Reduces the Driver Distraction

It was noticed that seat belts help to improve the student behavior in school buses. This is because seat belts will reduce the bullying situations as students hold on to their seats with seat belts. And it makes your child safer.

Inculcates a Good Safety Habit

When you install seat belts on the school buses, it becomes a habit. And this can be beneficial as your child puts seat belts automatically whenever they enter into a vehicle for transportation. So, implementation of seat belts helps to build a critical habit in children as it enhances transportation safety.

Is it Really Good for your Child?

Over the years, school bus seat belts are an issue for school authorities as well as parents. And in research and crash tests, it was found that in some cases, seat belts can cause danger to your children. The lap belt can cause injuries to neck as well as face at the crash situations. Sometimes, seat belts cause serious damage to the internal organs of your child. Due to these reasons, authorities still hesitate to take the risk of installing seat belt on school buses. As it involves student road safety, researches and crash tests are still going on about whether seat belts for school buses are good or not.

Here are the reasons why seat belts are not desirable for school buses:

  • When seat belts are not worn properly, it may cause serious back injuries as well as neck injuries
  • As seat belts are worn by children, you can not trust them fully as children are usually naughty
  • School bus seats are designed to be just like eggs in a carton (seats are closely arranged) that makes children safer

Is the Present School Bus Design Safer?

At present, school bus design is based on the compartmentalization concept. That is, seats are arranged higher, closer, and well padded, which indeed reduces the impact caused by accidents. And windows are made small so that your child never gets thrown out of it. Hence, it was proved that this passive crash protection system is safer than any other restraint systems available today.

Installation of seat belt is still a concern. Many argue that seat belt is necessary for school buses. While others think that it causes injuries to back and neck. Also, it may become a hindrance at the time of emergencies. It slows down your child's evacuation process, thereby increasing casualties. A clear answer is elusive. What do you think? Should seat belts be employed in school buses? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section. 

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