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Is there a new push to install seatbelts in school buses?


Many of our North Georgia readers probably rode a bus to and from school throughout much of their kindergarten through high school days. Indeed, most people throughout the country could probably say the same thing about their transportation to and from school. But, there is one part of riding a bus that almost no one would be able to recall -- wearing a seatbelt.

The vast majority of school buses in America do not have seatbelts for the children who ride along as passengers. However, even when a school bus is involved in a fatal accident, there doesn't seem to be much talk about attempting to make school buses safer by installing seatbelts. But, after a recent meeting hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the winds of change may be headed our way.

The meeting, which was held for the purpose of discussing options to improve safe transportation for students, started off with a statistic that may be a surprise to some of our readers -- school buses remain the safest way to transport children to and from school. However, even one wrongful death of a child in a school bus accident is too much, hence the discussion of potential improvements.

The real thrust of the recent NHTSA meeting was attempting to determine whether or not a federal mandate is needed in order to get school bus manufacturers to equip all school buses with seatbelts. That approach is opposed by the manufacturers, although the manufacturers indicated that they did support the voluntary option to switch to all-seatbelt school buses. From that standpoint, it may not be long before children throughout America experience their daily ride to school in a much different way than their parents did.

Source: School Transportation News, "NHTSA Meeting Revisits School Bus Seat Belts," Michelle Fisher, Aug. 4, 2015

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