Tag Archives: safety

What To Do When A School Bus Catches Fire

Bus transportation is considered as one of the safest modes of transit for students. But, a fire resulting from a collision or failure of a component puts lives at risk and can have an enormous impact on operational costs as well.

There are diverse reasons that can cause fire in a school bus – due to mechanical failures, wires got loose and rub against engine parts, overload of circuit boards, explosion of tires or even leaks that release inflammatory fluids.

Read Also: 10 School Bus Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist

In most cases, school bus fires start in the engine area, running gear, or wheel area of the vehicle. Studies analyze that the most frequent cause of ignition was failure of equipment or heat source.

Along with transporting students safe to and from school, school bus drivers and attendees may have to handle even certain emergency situations such as a bus crash, accident or fire.


In such a situation, they are responsible to supervise all students and follow procedures for the appropriate release of students

According to the U.S. government statistics, on an average – 379 school bus fires happen each year, though deaths are rare from such fire incidents.

Drivers in school bus must be well trained by the school district board to take immediate action, if they doubt any smoke or fire in any portion of the bus or even if the bus is near an existing fire and they are unable to move the bus away.

In such a scenario, take quick actions such as

  • Stop the bus in a safe area
  • Vacate the bus
  • Call Bus Dispatch number
  • Use fire extinguisher

Evacuate the bus

Organize students for a transfer to another school bus. School bus fire evacuation drills and training is important for drivers to rescue students from a burning bus.

Such drills can also help students to stay prepared in safely escaping from the bus. Students will be able to know when and how to evacuate as well as the relevance of evacuating in an orderly way.

Read Also: School Bus Transportation Security – 18 Practices to Follow

To evacuate the bus, drivers should –

  • Call for bus dispatch, shut off motor, set brake and remove key
  • Decide the right evacuation route, which ever you think is appropriate – let that be exit door, front or side doors, roof hatch or even windows.
  • Ensure that the attendees are helping students to get off safely and assemble everyone together
  • In case of time shortage, instruct students to leave their bags and other personal belongings on the bus and make sure that everyone has left
  • Leave the bus only after all the students leave and remember to take your cell phone as well as the first aid kit
  • Follow the correct student release procedures and do not re-enter the bus until recommended by the authorities
  • Follow correct transfer procedures, in case if you are transferring students to another bus. Ask them to move to that bus in an orderly manner, drivers should stay alert until the transfer is complete.
  • Designate older students to help the young ones in evacuation

Use fire suppression systems

Fire suppression systems can help to extinguish fire immediately. Such advanced systems release a mist or powder to extinguish the fire, when the temperature reaches a certain level.

Installation and testing of such fire suppression systems in engine compartments is now getting mandatory in buses as well as coaches.

These systems –

  • Provide extra time for students with disabilities to leave the bus
  • Can put out fire for rear-engine buses, even before driver might be aware of the incident

Maintenance staff and supervisors should also undergo thorough training during installation of such systems.

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Training – 10 Tips For City Driving

School districts can take certain steps to prevent such incidents such as replacing old buses with new ones, either by purchasing them or by getting benefits from a lease program.

Drivers should be recommended to inspect their school buses daily before every trip, check for leaks and make sure that all exit doors open perfectly, making the bus ready for any such emergency situations.

10 School Bus Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist

Unlike other transportation fleets, school buses have an enlightening purpose that demands special care; for it is the wagon that the future of our kind travels every day.

So, it’s a crime to look at it recklessly. School buses are more of a classroom than a wagon, where pupils learn the rules of the roads lively as well. So, it is essential to keep it on the lines of rules all around.

Fortunately, our rules and regulations are very concerned about our young growing generation. The rigorous set of laws and practices could instill the importance of keeping the school buses fit and flair all the way.

Read Also: School Bus Drivers Training – 10 Tips For City Driving

As the teamwork ofmolded machines and parts, every vehicle will get wear and tear over time, no different are school buses. So, it is necessary to inspect the vehicles as many times as possible. Specifically, before heading for a trip with the children.

 Since we cannot forecast the condition and the life of machine parts, either we have to dare to meet any trials across the way,or we have to make sure our vehicle is fit enough for any terrain. Sadly, we cannot go with the former in the case of school buses.

Hence, a thorough pre-trip inspection can assure that the school bus is working and ensure a smooth and comfy journey for the kids all the way.


Notably, it is the drivers who are the responsible hands for taking care of all about the wagons, and there is some list of factors that we have to check before a trip.

So, let’s check what the pre-trip inspection checklists for school bus are.

1. Body Inspection

There are chances of slack connections and broken shields and window panes, scratchy bumpers and shaded lamps, blurry paint on our school bus. Giving a glance across the body of the bus will help us to figure out the visible damages, dents,scratch on it.

Body inspection spans all the way around the bus including, the glossy mirrors, grills, window panes, tires, lamps, wipers, shields, wheel nuts, reflectors and whatever visible to our naked eye.

Moreover, it enables us to catch out any part that is not working properly. Just remember we cannot leave out anything at least.

2. Engine Check

It is more likely a full heart check-up, so it takes time and patience. The engine consists of numerous parts, so it needs an in-depth analysis to figure out issues hiding inside.

The whistling valves, tubes, wires, chamber, seals, caps, lube tanks, engine chamber, filters, plugs, radiator, battery, pistons, spark plugs, timing gears, conveyor, shafts, etc. involves in an engine check.

So, any of it hesitate to work with the others in abruptly, the whole system stop working. Moreover, there are many forms of issues that can arise in an engine.

Leaking oils, broken seals, settled grits, blocked vents are some of the common persistent problems occurs on the engine. Hence, we have to spare some moments to understand the exact issues going on the engine.

Plus, we have to have a conventional understanding of the variations about the sounds, vibrations, and unusual precipitations to find the problems intact.

3. Light and horn

Lightsare critical elements in school buses since it has to take cuts and turns more often. So, it is essential to look over the lights, indicators and tail lamps thoroughly. If it requires any repair or replacement, we have to point out it to the mechanic immediately.

The list of lights in a school bus is a bit higher than the common wagons, and each one in it shall maintain accurately. The connections, brightness, wiring also have to take into inspection before every trip.

The same actions have to be followed humbly on the horns as well. Importantly, we have to check the capacity of the battery, for these parts are relying on the battery vastly. Any unusualbehaviors should repair immediately before the journey.

4. Gears and pedals

When the engine propels the pistons and shafts vigorously,and the gears, levers,andpedals failed to transport it to wheels, everything goes in vain. Hence, the prominence of gears and pedals are not less to any other parts.

To avoid unexpected troubles during the trips, we have to inspect the gears, brake, and clutch and accelerate pedals regularly and have to repair and maintain it accurately. Remember always, “Prevention is better than cure.”

5. Lubrication

Lubrications are like a kind of unavoidable catalyst in vehicles machine operation. Probably, the drivers know how the wagons crave for it when they run short of lubricationeverytime. Hence, for the proper functioning of machine parts and longer life of vehicles, it is essential far and wide.

So, we have to check all parts that require ample amount of lubrication across the vehicle. Primarily, for the moving pedals, rotating joints, and shafts, steeringcolumns,and attachments, etc.

Read Also: How School Bus Drivers Can Help Protect Disabled Children

Moreover, the lubricants that we use for the buses also matter to tap the efficiency of vehicles. So, always keep an eye over the parts and thevarieties of oils we chose to apply.

6. Emergency and Safety Equipment’s

The safety of school bus is an imperative factor of concern. Since we cannot foretell the things ahead in our roads, every school bus must equip with all safety and emergency measures to handle any situation seamlessly. Also, the driver and other vehicle staffs have to train to operate the equipmentquite well either.

Before every trip, checking the emergency and safety kit is a worthy practice. The fire extinguishers, first aid box, warning hazard triangles, spare parts, and emergency exit door and other essential safety measures that are acting up irregular and suspicious have to be replaced appropriately.

7. Meters and Gauges

Meters and Gauges are vital counterparts in all vehicles. The fuel levels, temperature, pressure, and speed are measured by the meters and gauges that are fixed on the driver panel. Hence, it is necessary to keep it up for conscious driving.

Any defect on it can cause massive misconceptions and disrupt the safe driving. So, always remember to check the working of meters and gauges accurately. Also, carryout the recommended repair/replacement timely.

8. Wheels

These tubular synthesized rubber rolls have a prominent role in running a vehicle. Wheels are the strong legs that help the vehicles run, walk and stand still.

Hence, a defect on it can bring big troubles on a trip. The air pressure level, thread thickness, disk condition, lug nuts are the factors that has to be looked over every day. Also, wheels and tires need to replace at proper intervals for a seamless drive.

9. Brake System

Inspecting brake involves various steps. For that, we have to take multiple testing rides as well. The oil, brake chamber, pedal, air lines, seals are few of them. The chances of brake system get into defect is more high, since it is the bridle of our gigantic wagon.


Thus, we have to ensure that the brake system is fit enough to control the bus all around. Regardless of the climate, terrain it could control the vehicle all around.

10. Documents and papers

Vehicle documents including insurance policies, registration and permits, test results, driver license,and other eligibility docs are to be updated as it expires. Over every trip, we have to check the documents twice to assure all papers are valid to the data.

Therefore, inevitableis the pre-trip inspection on school buses. To ensure a safe and secure trip for the children we have to pay our diligent attention throughout the school buses. From the number ofplates to the exhaust pipe, all the standards and recommendations have to adhere.

Read Also: School Bus Driver Safety – How Technology Can Play a Role

There are numerous factors still remaining for our attention in school buses.  However, we have covered almost every vital point to look over for a pre-trip inspection. Following these tips can help you keep unnecessary troubles far away from your fleets on the roads.

Wish you a safe trip.

8 Road Safety Tips For Pedestrians

Pedestrians also have the responsibility to follow certain traffic rules while on road. Your behaviour should not be the reason for any casualty. Try to be more attentive to your surroundings and follow the rules, as pedestrians your eyes and ears are your best tools for keeping you safe.


  • Don’t jaywalk
  • Use sidewalks as much as possible, if not walk facing the traffic signal to know your surroundings
  • Mind the signs and signals
  • Use pedestrian crossings to cross the road
  • Before crossing the road look both sides to make sure there aren’t any vehicles
  • While on road do not text, play or hear music. Avoid distractions as much as possible
  • When you’re with children try to make sure they are not walking by the side of the road. Always maintain 3 feet distance from the road
  • During harsh weathers or at night, try to wear light coloured clothing so that you are visible.
Road Safety Tips For Pedestrians

Road Traffic Safety Rules In Lebanon – All You Need To Know

Lebanon has a population of 60, 00000 people of which 85% live in the urban areas. Lack of an efficient public transport system has resulted in an increase in passenger car vehicles on the road…  

Irresponsible and negligent driving is the main cause of approximately 1200 deaths a year in traffic accidents alone. Poor road infrastructure also contributes to this statistic.

Traffic rules for drivers as well as pedestrians have been stipulated by the Government. But the authorities have been lax in implementing them.

The following are the rules to ensure driver discipline and safety on the roads.

Read Also: 10 Road Safety Tips That Can Save Your Life

Driving License Issuance

  • Driving in Lebanon is on the right-hand side of the road.
  • The minimum age to obtain a driving license in Lebanon is 18 years.
  • A driver needs to be 23 years to rent a car, Minimum age to drive commercial vehicles is set at 21 and  school buses at 25
  • Driving Licenses are issued after the candidate passes a mandatory written and practical driving test. They are renewed every 10 years.

Driver rules

  • Drivers are to carry a valid driver’s license, registration and insurance documents while driving.
  • Drivers cannot drive motor vehicles without registration and license
  • Drivers cannot drive an impounded vehicle.
  • Drivers should comply with the traffic lights, should not overrun the red signal  and stop when required
  • Drivers should give way to aged and disabled persons and students.
  • They should give priority to ambulances, fire engines, police and other government vehicles.
  • Drivers should not use radar detection methods.
  • Drivers should not drive under fatigue.
  • Drivers should not block intersections.
  • They should give preference to vehicles inside of a roundabout.
  • They should refrain from making illegal U-turns and performing acrobatics on the road

Speed limit

  • Speed limits set by the road safety authorities in Lebanon is a maximum of 50kph in urban areas and 100kph in rural areas.  
  • Driving under the speed limit by 20Km/h is not allowed.
  • Driving over the speed limit by 60km/h attracts maximum fine, vehicle seizure and a jail term.
  • Over-speeding, racing and dangerous driving are not allowed and are punishable offences.

Drink/Drug driving

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is prohibited.
  • Even though the legal limit in drinking and driving is 0.5g/l, the authorities have adopted 0% tolerance towards driving after drinking.
  •  A graded fining system exists for driving under the influence of blood alcohol concentration levels of 0.5-0.8g/l, 0.8-1g/l, and for above 1g/l heavy fines, seizure of vehicle and jail term is imposed.
  • No open alcohol containers are permitted in a vehicle on road.

Vehicle safety rules

  • Seat belts are compulsory for both front and rear passengers in all vehicles.
  • Helmets are compulsory for cyclists and motor-cycle riders.
  • Cyclists should use side mirrors.
  • Cars should not have dark tinted windows.
  • Vehicles on the road should have their light on at all times.
  • Using mobile phones while driving is prohibited. A hands-free system can be used.
  • Signal lights and high beam lights are to be used only when necessary.
  • Hazard lights have to be switched on when the vehicle is broken down or when there is an obstruction on the road.
  • Hazard triangle in the vehicle is mandatory.
  • Dangling any part of the body outside while the vehicle is in motion is not allowed.
  • Registration plates have to be displayed clearly on the vehicles.

Passenger restrictions

  • Children under the age of 5 years have to be seated and buckled in a car seat.
  • Children under the age of 10 years should not be seated in the front seat and should not be transported on motor cycles

Parking regulations

  • On-street parking is normally allowed for a maximum of two hours.
  • Vehicles should not be parked in no-parking zones, pedestrian walkways and crossings or in slots reserved for the disabled.
  • Vehicles for sale should not be displayed or parked in public parking spaces.

Accident rules

  • A vehicle involved in an accident has to be moved to the side of the road
  • Causing accidents, not stopping immediately or performing a hit and run attract heavy fines, seizure of vehicles and jail terms.

Read Also: 8 Road Safety Tips for Motorists 

Pollution rules

  • Vehicles with carbon emission beyond the legal limits are penalized.
  • Noise pollution and Littering are not permitted.

Pedestrian rules

  • They have to respect the traffic signal lights and use the pedestrian crossings
  • They are to use assigned bridges and tunnels to cross busy roads.
  • Entering and exiting vehicles 25 meters close to intersections, signals or roundabouts in not permitted.

Violation of each one of the above traffic rules in Lebanon is a punishable offence.

Fines ranging from 200,000 LL to 1,000,000LL are imposed on violators. Major and repeated traffic offences call for imprisonment and confiscation of vehicle and licenses.

If citizens of Lebanon strictly follow the comprehensive set of traffic rules fatality rate can be reduced.

A change in the attitude of drivers, strict implementation of the rules and a better understanding of safety issues is essential.

Many organizations have been formed to create an awareness of road safety among the people and drivers.

School Bus Driver Safety – How Technology Can Play a Role

School bus drivers are given the huge responsibility of transporting the children to and from the school safely. Driving a school bus is a very serious job and often thankless. The driver is exposed to many an experience on and off the bus and their safety is of utmost importance.

Nowadays, the school fleets comes fitted with a number of technological aids and this helps them to stay safe as well as do their jobs to the best of their abilities. We review below a list of technologies and gadgets that help them in more than one way.

Read Also: 10 School Bus Safety Tips for Drivers

1: Digital Cameras

Safety enforcement is always a tough job. During most of the trips, on-bus behaviour of the students is a major distraction for the driver. Most drivers trim this problem by assigning seats to the students.

Digital cameras that are installed in modern school fleets help the driver to constantly monitor the situation inside the bus while simultaneously maintaining a watchful eye on the road.

The cameras are also endowed with the capability to record both audio and video of the happenings inside the bus. This spares the driver from having to turn back to find out what exactly happened.

These cameras are also equipped to capture the licence plate details of vehicles that pass close by the bus when it halts.

2: Bus Tracking Systems

Bus tracking systems provide the much-needed transparency that is otherwise required of the bus drivers in reporting where the bus is located at that point in time.

These systems not only work to notify parents and school authorities of the current location of the bus, but they also act to restrict harsh driving behaviours.

Parents monitor both unscheduled bus routes/ bus stops that the drivers may take and also monitor the speed of the bus. This aspect keeps the children and the drivers safe.

Bus tracking apps help to keep away distress calls from the parents that would otherwise be a distraction for the driver. The school bus tracking app helps to provide real-time data as regards approach time of a bus near the scheduled bus stop.

It also helps the driver to do his work with the concentration required to get his wards to the bus stops at the scheduled times.

3: Mirror Grid Systems

The latest school fleets come fixed with a grid of mirrors. This 7-mirror system helps the drivers to have a wide-angle view of the surroundings of the bus.

The electric grids that are present behind the mirrors help the drivers during the cold winters. The heat generated by the grid removes the fog and snow particles that get lodged on the mirror during the winters. It helps to enhance the driver’s surrounding vision.


4: Driver-controlled Bus Doors

The doors of today’s school buses can be controlled by the bus drivers with the touch of a button. The driver’s control in the opening and closing the school bus doors are helpful in more ways than one.

Firstly, the absence of manual operations keeps away unnatural twists and turns of the body and the problems arising thereof. Shoulder pain, arm injuries, and fatigue can be completely avoided. The annual door swings are nil.

5: Air-cushioned Driver Seats

The latest school fleets come with built in driver seats that are kept up with the help of air pressure. This keeps the seat at a comfortable position for the driver and provides enhanced lumbar support that leads to fewer back problems for the drivers in the long run.

6: Smaller Bus Engines

As a direct consequence of miniaturization that is taking place in all fields, bus engines are now smaller in size. The smaller size of the engine means a smaller hood. This improves the field of vision of the driver and enables him to see more of the surroundings.

7: Computerized Diagnostic Tools

Computerized diagnostic tools that inform the driver well in advance about the upcoming maintenance jobs of the vehicle are a boon to the drivers.

Wear-out of tires, replacement of non-working indicator lights, and other maintenance jobs, if informed to the driver in advance helps them to keep the children and their job safe.

Other issues that can give the drivers a feeling of preparedness include indications about transmission problems, oil tanks and their malfunction, exhaust systems’ alarms, etc.

8: Wi-Fi Connectivity

Wi-Fi connectivity in the bus can keep children engaged with the Internet and allow them to complete their lessons, homework or indulge in other intellectually gainful activities.

This keeps them from engaging in unruly behaviour which can distract the drivers and keep them from performing their duties.

Read Also: School Bus Safety Precautions a Bus Driver should Take

9: Sensors

Installation of sensors in wireless devices will inform the drivers about the current status of brakes and emergency door systems. This prevents impending disasters.

Final Thoughts

Though skilled and careful driving is still the best preventative method to keep the kids safe during their ride on the school bus, technological aids, in the recent times have helped the drivers prevent many an accident.

Therefore it is important to install these technological gadgets and systems to make the school bus ride much safer than before.

A Simple Guide to Auto Route Optimization in School Buses

The world we live in is no longer as safe as it used to be. Crimes, especially against young children, are on the rise. Hardly a day or two passes without any crime against children being reported.

In addition, mishaps and accidents are a threat to the lives of students. As a result, parents are worried more than ever about the well being of their school going children.

Due to this reason schools have sought the help of technology to ensure the safety of the students who use their school bus to commute to and from school.

Read Also: Bus Route Optimization Tips for School Bus Safety and Economy

While cameras help school authorities to keep an eye on children when they are within the campus, the tracking software enables them to ensure their safety during their trip to and back from the school. The software also enables parents to keep track of their children through their mobile devices.

As such, the aim of this post is to provide some information on school bus auto route optimization. So, let us start by understanding as to what auto route optimization actually means. 

Auto Route Optimization – What Is It

Optimization of the school bus route is a process wherein the school transportation administrator generates one set of routes to ensure that all children are transported to and from school safely and on time.

Bus route optimization enables schools to reduce the number of buses and the distance to be travelled, thus contributing in saving fuel and other costs. It may not be possible to achieve this always, but it is certainly one of the important goals.


School bus routes can be optimized in many ways. A simple stop optimization could result in savings in running miles. It involves keeping the same stops on the routes and changing the order in which each stop is visited.

Another option is to observe stops on several routes and determine whether grouping them differently could result in a reduction in the distance travelled.

However, care should be taken not to overload the bus by assigning too many students in each route. Further, enough time should be allocated to buses to complete a trip.

As such, a number of components have to be considered while optimizing school bus routes. It is not an easy task to keep track of every variable in mind and manually optimize the school bus routes.

It is, therefore, best done with the help of software with built-in artificial intelligence capability. This software makes use of an algorithm to optimize the routes.

How Does School Bus Auto Route Optimization Work?

The route optimization software automatically creates routes on the basis of the specifications that the users provide. The parameters that the users may incorporate into the algorithm may include the following:

  • The maximum time a student should spend on the bus.
  • The maximum time allowed for the entire route. The starting point and destination is also taken into account in this case. The preferred pickup point in each school bus route may also be included as a parameter.
  • Specify the capacity.
  • Group the students either by school or route
  • Consider whether the bus should stop at each of the school in the route or at transfer points.
  • Choose buses to be used from the fleet.
  • Specify the size of the bus to be used on a specific route.

Routes are often created on the basis of the students to be included. Students may be added based on the school in which they are studying and the boundary or zone they are being transported to.

Once a route is finalized, it can be viewed on a map with each and every stop clearly marked. Reports can also be printed and reviewed. The software allows this process to run until the optimum route is determined.

The important aspect to be kept in mind is that this is just the starting point. Even after activating a route, it can be manipulated to suit the needs of the school.

What Are The Benefits Of Auto Route Optimization?

Read Also : Is Bus Route Optimization the Perfect Solution to Save Money

School bus operators often find it challenging to optimize the operational costs. They can reduce their costs only by optimizing their routes. The auto-routing ability of the software helps to do exactly that and derive a number of benefits. They include the following:

The built-in AI capability of the software provides auto suggestions on the most fuel-efficient routes. In addition, it carries out efficiency checks to make sure that all the current school bus routes are operating at their optimum capacity.

A lot of recorded data related to routes, pick up points, school buses and their seating capacity are made use of for the purpose. Vehicle assignments are often initiated by considering the current data collated in the registration forms.

 This feature is very helpful in efficiently managing multiple pick-up points in one route. If a kid that is being picked up in a route changes location, the system comes up with a contingency plan and suggests the pickup and drop points.

The route optimization feature of the software also helps to identify the shortest route. Pick up and drop points are suggested based on the earlier points assigned. It is carried out after thorough analysis and suggests the best pick-up point for each every student in the shortest route.

The software provides school bus operators not only with feedback but also suggestions for achieving time and fuel efficiency.

The school bus auto route optimization software spares the in-charge of the efforts involved in manually allocating the routes.

It also allows the school bus drivers to drive peacefully as they are always provided with an updated route map that clearly indicates the pickup as well as drop points.

When a school wants to redistrict and implement optimize routes the software enables them to tweak the routes. Through optimization, it is possible to eliminate few trips and this allows the school to save substantial amount of money.

It is the key features of the auto route optimization that make it extremely useful: They include the following:

1. Pick up and drop points are taken into account when suggesting a route.

2. Optimizes the pickup points and improves efficiency.

3. Automatically updates the best pick-up order, hence saving time and fuel consumption.

4. Auto optimization aligns multiple pick-up points in one route to create the shortest route.

5. Centralization of data enables the determination of the shortest route to reduce the distance travelled.     

6. The route optimization application automatically modifies the current seating capacity based on the number of students in a route.

7. The beauty of the system is that it automatically collects the data whenever the pickup or drop off point is modified.

9. It is also capable of suggesting alternate best routes to avoid traffic.

Finally, the software may also be employed for the purpose of generating new ideas with respect to route optimization. Using the school bus auto route optimization software it is also possible to identify new ways to cut routes and save money.

How Safe Is Your School Bus ?

How safe is your school bus is a question that comes to everybody’s mind at the start of each school year. This can be attributed to the several high-profile school bus accidents that have taken place in the past.

According to safety administration authority, the safest way of transporting children to and from the school is the school bus. In fact, a school bus is considered to be seven times safer compared to traveling either by car or van.

Bus Safety

Time and again people have raised the issue that school buses are not provided with seat belts to ensure the safety of children. On the other hand, seat belts have been compulsory for passenger cars ever since 1968. However, experts in the filed opine that they are not required on school buses.

According to them, seat belts have a key role to play in ensuring the safety of passengers in cars, but the design of school buses is different and a unique kind of a restraint system on buses works extremely well.

On the other hand, the small school buses are to be equipped with lap and/or lap plus shoulder belts at all of the specified seating positions.

This is because the weights and sizes of smaller school buses and vans are closer to that of passenger cars and mini trucks, it is essential to provide seat belts to ensure the safety of the occupants.

In addition, the chances of students getting to school safely are nearly 70 times higher when they take a school bus instead of commuting by car.

This is because school buses have to comply with a lot of regulatory stipulations compared to other vehicles that ply on the roads. Moreover, they are designed to provide a higher level of safety than other passenger vehicles and prevent crashes and injuries. Further, the stop-arm laws protect students from other motorists.

Another aspect is that school buses are designed in such a way that they ensure high levels of visibility. Other safety aspects include flashing red lights, protective seating, rollover protection, high crush standards, and cross-view mirrors in addition to stop-sign arms.

The school students are also further protected by law. The law prevents drivers from passing a school bus when students are being dropped off or picked up, irrespective of the direction from which he/she is approaching.

Bus Stop Safety

It is not riding the bus that poses the greatest risk to the school students. The risk is higher when approaching or leaving the bus. Prior to going back to school or starting school for the very first time, the parents and children must have a clear idea of the traffic safety rules.

Parents must teach their children to follow all road rules and safe practices so that waiting for school bus at bus stops becomes safer for them. 

Children must reach the bus stop from where they board their school bus at least 5 minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time of the bus. Parents can visit the school bus stop and show the children where they wait to safely board the bus.

Children should wait at least six feet or three giant steps away from the curb. Children should also be told clearly that they should not run around or play when waiting for the school bus.

When it comes to boarding or getting down from the school bus, children should be taught to be patient, until the door gets opened, and the driver announces that they can board or get down at the bus stop.

Children should also be taught to hold the handrails so that they don’t fall down while boarding or alighting from the bus.

Children should never be allowed to walk behind the school bus. If a child has to cross the street to board the bus, he/she should be trained to walk on the sidewalk or along the street on the side to a point which is at least 10 feet or 5 giant steps in front of the school bus prior to crossing the street.

It is also important that children make an eye contact with the school bus driver prior to crossing the street in order to make sure that the driver has seen him/her. At times children might drop a book or a ball near their school bus but they should never try to pick them up.

This is because the driver may not be able to see them. The safest thing to do in such a situation is to inform the bus driver.

On their part, school bus drivers can take care of a few things to make school bus travel safer for children. When backing the bus out of driveways or leaving garages, they must keep a watch on children that are bicycling or walking to school.

The same rule applies when driving the bus around the neighbourhoods within school zones. Drivers should watch out for children walking or cycling to school.

It pays to slow down the bus and watch out for children that are walking on the street, especially if the neighbourhood does not have any sidewalks.

They should also be aware of children congregating and playing near school bus stops. Drivers should also be vigilant as children that arrive late might run on to the street unaware of the traffic.

In addition, drivers must be aware of the school bus laws in their state and obey them. This includes the use of the flashing light signal system for alerting motorists.

Flashing yellow lights indicate that the school bus is going to stop either to enable the children to board the bus or alight from the bus. This is a warning for the other motorists to either slow down or prepare for stopping their vehicles.

When the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, other motorists understand that the school bus has been stopped for children to either get into or get off the bus.

Motorists will immediately stop their vehicles and continue to wait until the driver puts off the flashing red lights and withdraws the extended stop-arm.

The school bus starts moving even before other motorists start driving their vehicles again. Further, refresher training courses are available for school bus drivers to ensure the safety of children during the school year.

It is not an easy decision for parents to allow their children to travel to and from school on the school bus. However, it is important that they keep in mind the fact that, even without seat belts, a school bus that operates as per regulations is the safest option for school children.

School Bus Seat Belts – Are They Compulsory?

To buckle or not to! These are the two sides of an argument whether seat belts in school buses should be made compulsory. While some of the strong advocators of the safety of school kids are in favor of seat belts in school buses, there are others who substantiate their argument that seat belts do not save the lives of kids onboard. They are just seen as unwarranted expenditure burning a hole in the pockets of school administration.

The school seat belt debate continues, with the primal focus on the student safety. Student safety is all about identifying potential risks coming from different corners. Most of the kids suffer injuries not while traveling in a school bus but at pickup and drop off points. It is hence the need of the hour to educate kids about various safety rules along with their strict adherence.

Along with highlighting the significance of reaching the pick-up point in advance, kids should be asked to exercise caution when they are getting on and off the school bus. Drivers, on the other hand should also be closely watched whether they are following the safety norms while driving. If such safety measures are followed both by drivers and students, the propensity of accidents caused to school students can be brought down significantly.

Why Don’t School Buses Have Seat Belts?

why dont school buses have seat belts featured image

To answer this question as to why school buses don’t have seat belts, you need to delve deep into the opinions expressed by school administrators who look seat belts as unnecessary devices. Below is the rundown of the various reasons given by them.

  • First and foremost, this section of school administrators thinks installation of seat belts as an unnecessary expenditure. Since schools often run on tight budgets, ordering and equipping seat belts to school buses will further fleece their finances.
  • If the safety of school kids is a point of concern, these administrators argue that most of the injuries or casualties occur when kids are either walking to the bus stop or away from their drop point to reach their homes.
  • School buses are built in such a way that they promote the safety of kids onboard at all times. They are heavy vehicles which come with strong shock absorbers which are capable of offering the much-needed cushioning effect to students during any eventuality. Hence the need for seat belts does not arise.
  • School bus seats are padded and hence well-designed to absorb the impact of a shock.
  • There aren’t any data points about the appropriate and regular use of seat belts in school buses.
  • There is no past data that highlights the significance of seat belts in bringing down injuries caused to school kids during travel in school buses.
  • Unruly kids can resort to violence using seat belts as their weapons. In the event of an improper use of seat belts, they can choke students.
  • There can be instances when seat belts are not used according to their prescribed instructions, causing injuries to kids onboard.
  • Research proved that lap belts can actually harm kids. In the event of a buckled seat belt, there can be increased chances of a head injury resulting from a head-on collision. Along with this, there are greater chances of getting student injured on his/her neck.
  • The money that is spent on seat belts can be diverted to the installation of other safety devices in school buses.
  • School buses normally follow the concept of “compartmentalization”. As per this design concept, seats are placed so very close to each other so that school kids experience minimum impact caused by a collision. So, the use of seat belts becomes redundant.
  • The interiors of school bus seats are made of energy-absorbing steel. Along with this, all the seats come with extra padding.
  • Another factor that makes seat belts in school buses impractical comes from the well-designed arrangement of seats. While all the seats are tightly fastened to the floor of the bus, seat-backs are raised so as to ensure extra security to students traveling in the school bus.

Is Seat Belt Necessary In School Buses?

Is Seat Belt Necessary In School Bus featured image

This question is looking for responses in favor of the installation of seat belts in school buses. Therefore, here we present all those arguments that strongly advocate the use of seat belts for multiple reasons.

  • Tagged as safety devices in school buses, seat belts are meant to ensure the safety of kids at all times. Just as you buckle up your car seat belts, school bus seat belts guard students against the sudden impact of a collision. Seat belts in school buses help to cut down the number of injuries and casualties concerning kids.
  • When school kids are secured with seat belts, they sit in their designated seats without distracting the driver by running around in a moving bus.
  • In the case of an accident, seat belts offer the best protection, securing the kids from either hitting against the front seat or rolling over to the next passenger on the seat.
  • Safety begins at school when school kids will learn to adhere to safety rules while riding and traveling. Here, seat belts emphasize the importance of good safety habits.
  • The use of three-point seat belts in school buses can double up the safety of kids. These seat belts which secure the lap of students run over their shoulders, safeguarding their sitting position in the event of a rollover accident.
  • Last but not the least, all those in favor of seat belts in school buses consider it as a worthwhile investment, keeping in mind the safety of kids onboard.

Is It Good For Student Safety In School Bus?

Student Safety In School Bus featured image

Accidents do not happen every single day. These are rare instances that one should be prepared for, especially when it concerns the safety of young kids being transported to and from schools to their homes. School buses are the preferred means of transportation for most of the parents for simple reason that they ensure a great deal of student safety.

Statistics report that school buses are 16 times safer when compared to reaching school in a family vehicle. Under this section concerning student safety linked to seat belts, you will be able to come to a conclusive decision whether seat belts actually guarantee student security or not.

The following are the substantiating opinions about how seat belts in school buses do not guarantee or improve the safety of students.

  1. Safety Mechanisms Are Already in Place

Many districts in the United States employ close to 40 safety standards while designing and constructing school buses. These come in the form of superior and reliable brake systems, bright red indicator lights, cross-view mirrors for clear visibility, escape outlets to roofs, stop-sign arms and emergency exits.

If you look at the school bus seats, they come with high-quality padded seatbacks which absorb the impact of a crash. Sporting a bright yellow color which attracts the attention of both commuters and other vehicles on the road, school buses promise protective seating teamed with impact-resistant features. These seats also guarantee strong rollover protection systems.

  1. School Buses V/s Passenger Vehicles

Research reveals that your kids are 70 times safer while commuting via school buses when compared to traveling by car. The very fact that school buses are not built as if they are passenger, vehicles makes them the safest means of transporting kids to and fro to their schools.

The increased height and weight of school buses in addition to the length of school buses are the positive attributes that safeguard them against frequent crashes. Incorporating a body-on-frame design, modern school buses come fitted with anti-lock braking systems; a welcome step towards the safety of school kids.

  1. Injuries to Students Who Have Buckled Up or Not

If school buses install a combination of lap and shoulder belts, they would require stiff seats. Stiff seats can lead to injuries in the event students do not buckle up and a crash occurs. There can be instances of injuries caused to the abdomen when kids can slide down, hurting the organs below the abdomen of students who did not buckle up.

  1. The Legal Provisions

School buses are tagged as the most regulated vehicles on the road, not only on account of their unique designing but also for the fact that they have a strong legal protection. Law is always on the side of students who are either alighting or boarding a school bus, making it an offence for the driver to drive past a school bus which is picking or dropping students; in any direction.

  1. Practical Limitations

1. Given the crucial necessity of evacuating students during an emergency, seat belts are an evident hindrance. When all the kids are fastened to their seats, it becomes a herculean task to push them out of the school bus after a crash.

2. Another concern here is linked to the driver who has to ensure that all the 70 odd kids in his bus are fastened to their seats. There has to be another person who has to oversee all the students, adjust their seat belts and confirm that all of them are used properly.

3. Kids come with different constitutions. While some kids are bulky, there are others who are lean. Seat belts should be adjusted in line with the bodily requirements of smaller and larger kids.

  1. The Exception of Small School Buses

While all the above arguments do not favor equipping school buses with seat belts, there is one exception with regard to small school buses which weigh 10,000 pounds or less. It is for such school buses that lap or shoulder belts should be fitted with seat belts since they weigh closer to what passenger trucks and cars weigh.

Hence, in order to ensure the safety of students traveling via smaller school buses, it makes sense to fit them with seat belts so as to offer superior protection to all those who are onboard.

Advantages and Disadvantages of School Bus Seat Belts

Advantages and Disadvantages of school bus seat belts featured image

In an attempt to weigh the pros and cons of equipping school buses with seat belts, you may visualize the below scenarios which are likely to occur on a fateful day.

An Example

Firstly, you can imagine the instance of a crash involving a school bus that had seat belts installed. In such a school bus, it is a common phenomenon to find most of the students strapped to their seats with an exception of some who haven’t. The bus meets with an accident. Upon the strong impact coming from a head-on collision, all the students who weren’t strapped will slam into the students who have buckled up.

Such an impact will not only force the strapped students to bear their own weight but also to counter the additional weight coming from the students who have fallen on them; those who didn’t fasten their seat belts. Isn’t it a possibility for belted students to experience a doubling crash impact? Indeed, it is! Such an occurrence can invariably cause serious injuries to students.

Some Advantages

  • When school buses have students fastened to their seats, they will behave themselves well, without running about in a moving bus. This behavior is welcomed by drivers who need not oversee what the kids are up to, allowing them to better concentrate on the road traffic.
  • Buckling up is a good habit that goes a long way in ensuring safety. Students will be prompted to fasten their seat belts even when they are traveling in a passenger car or family vehicle.
  • The installation of seat belts comes with a nominal price tag; less than $2.00 per child. This is a very small cost component when you consider the big picture of student safety.
  • You can free yourself from legal battles if your school bus is equipped with seat belts.

The Evident Disadvantages

  • School buses are known for their stringent safety standards. In such cases, the use of seat belts becomes redundant.
  • In rarest of rare cases when a school bus has to brave natural catastrophes like flash floods or earthquakes, buckled up students cannot be saved.
  • Most of the school bus crashes occur either when kids are getting in or getting out of their school buses. So the necessity of seat belts as safety device is strongly disputed.
  • Given the cost of installing seat belts per child is comparatively low, you will have to invest huge amounts of money when you have to look into the safety measures of multiple buses which are answerable for the safety of thousands of school kids.
  • The installation of seat belts in school buses can burn a hole in the pockets of schools with a large fleet.
  • Belted students cannot be brought to safety in the event of a fire. A scenario in which the school bus is sinking can be devastating, with the driver and most of the students who have buckled up, to drown. This can be a typical case of an adversity diminishing all the opportunities to save the lives of children onboard.
  • Fearful kids fastened to their seats cannot protect themselves by unbuckling the belts in the event of a crash.
  • Errant students can make use of seat belts as weapons during tiffs and fights.
  • There is no guarantee that seat belts are put to their designated use in all the school buses.
  • The installation of seat belts in school buses is not governed by federal laws.
  • Seat belts have no significant role to play in diminishing the impact of a crash.
  • Since all the school buses ply with a speed limit, there are fewer chances for accidents. Hence the need for seat belts does not arise.
  • School kids traveling in school buses are guaranteed with superior protection as they are positioned above the impact zone. Hence, in the event of a collision or crash, they are left unscratched.
  • The height and weight of a school bus is so designed to absorb all the impact that occurs during a crash. This is not the case with a normal family automobile or passenger vehicle. Hence the difference of opinion advocating the significance of seat belts in school buses always exists.

Delving deep into the above-mentioned pros and cons of the effectiveness of seat belts in school buses can help the concerned make a well-informed decision of whether to fit seat belts in school buses or not.

Seatbelts on School Buses: Statistics

seatbelt on school buses statistic featured image

Described below is the statistical information that will serve as pivotal data points substantiating the effectiveness or the impracticality of seat belts in school buses.

  1. School buses are debatably the single most effective means of transportation for school children. Tagged as the safest means to ferry school kids to and fro to school, statistics reveal that 25 million children in the United States reach their classrooms without fastening their seat belts.
  2. The United States records only six states including Florida, Texas, Louisiana, New Jersey, California and New York which are governed by operational laws concerning seat belts on school buses.
  3. A meagre 20% of the USA’s 480,000 fleet of school buses are equipped with seat belts.
  4. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), a US government agency cites that, on an average, five to six kids die in school bus accidents every year.
  5. The same NHTSA reported that 0.2 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles travelled occurred via school bus accidents.
  6. According to the research conducted by IMMI, an industry leader which manufactures seat belts for school buses, the installation of lap-shoulder seatbelts in school buses can bring down the injury and fatality rate by 50%.
  7. Between 2003 and 2012, the NHTSA recorded 174 cases of fatal casualties involving students during transportation.
  8. As per a news feed published by PBS, 301 children lost their lives to school bus crashes between 2006 and 2015; most of whom were pedestrians or those who traveled in other vehicles. Of these, about 54 were school bus passengers.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Seat Belts in a School Bus?

The debate revolving around the installation of seat belts in school buses does not seem to conclude, especially when you are informed of the fact that school buses are the safest means of transportation. Here, you will be informed about the costs that need to be incurred by school administrations operating a fleet of buses fitted with seat belts.

The Budget for Seat Belts in School Buses

According to a CNN health report published by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in 2016, schools are required to set aside an average amount ranging between $7,346 and $10,296 for a large school bus to maintain its seat belts. That means, every big school bus fitted with seat belts will need to incur an average incremental cost anywhere between $7,000 and $11,000. However, this figure takes into consideration the initial installation costs of equipping a school bus with seat belts. Given that the life of a school bus spans 15 years, you can expect these operational costs to come down with every passing year.

Current Events Relating To School Bus Seat Belts

  1. A School Bus Ferrying Kids to a Field Trip Crashes into a Dump Truck in New Jersey

As recent as 18th May 2018, a news feed reported by CNN described a horrific school bus accident. This incident fueled the argument whether school buses should come up with a mandate for seat belts.

The tragedy occurred when a school bus ferrying kids to a field trip in Morris County, New Jersey collided with a dump truck and tilted to one side, on 17th May 2018. The impact of the collision proved fatal for one kid and an adult, in addition to injuring 43 people. News states that some of the seriously injured passengers might need surgeries to recover. This recent incident brought to light the effectiveness of seat belts in saving the lives of school kids.

Since seat belts belong to the jurisdiction of individual states, it was time for New Jersey to come up with laws concerning seat belts. In the wake of this tragedy, New Jersey’s law would make it mandatory for school buses to be fitted with three-point seat belts on high back seats.

In an attempt to ensure the safety of all kids playing on the roads of New Jersey, the state may direct school districts to ply new buses fitted with three-point seat belts. The three-point seat belts will thus come as the perfect option to ensure the safety of students patronizing school buses in New Jersey.

  1. A School Bus Crash in Tennessee on 23rd November 2016 Claims the Lives of 5 Children

Worried parents expressed their anguish over a school bus accident that took place in Chattanooga, Tennessee on 23rd November 2016. The accident, which claimed the lives of 5 school children and injuring 31 raised queries whether school buses should still be considered as the safest means of transport on American roads.

The CBS news reporter covering this accident shed light on the arguments revolving around the significance of seat belts that are essential for bulky school buses as well.

Over-speeding on driver’s part was the main reason behind this mishap. It was also learnt that the driver was speaking to his colleague over his mobile, while he was at the wheel. The distraction caused by the conversation coupled with over-speeding led the bus to a crash along a narrow and steep road; tilting it to one side.

The school bus did not have seat belts creating enough room for the million dollar argument to come up. It was time for the advocators in favor of seat belts in school buses to press the need for seat belts. As a strong retort, the arguments against the use of seat belts also came up. They quoted the increase in operational expenditure to install seat belts coupled with the stringent design standards that are followed by school bus builders.

These arguments were further strengthened by the opinions of drivers who felt that seat belts could come in the way of evacuating kids in the event of an emergency like fire or drowning.


With innumerable arguments in favor of and against the installation of school bus seat belts, it is for you to decide which way to go so as to ensure the safety of school students. Whether school administrators would choose to boost up other safety measures or would go ahead and install seat belts, it is only to ensure that every kid reaches his/her home safe from school.