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NHTSA Denies Petition to Require Seat Belts on School Buses

Posted on August 25, 2011

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has denied a petition to require seat belts in school buses saying it would be too costly and school buses are already safe, reports Fair Warning. The petition had been filed by the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington, D.C. based auto safety group has been denied by the NHTSA. It’s estimated five children are killed in a school bus accident every year and another 14 are killed in school bus collisions with child pedestrians.

The school bus seat belt debate was ignited again in August 2010, when two school buses slammed into a pickup and another truck in Missouri, killing a 15-year-old girl and injuring 50 other students. In that crash seat belts might have helped prevent injuries.

There is no requirement under federal law for school buses to have seat belts, however, Florida is one of six states that require seat belts for our students on school buses in addition to New York, New Jersey, California, Texas and Louisiana. The NHTSA does require seat belts on buses that weigh 10,000 pounds or less. The Center for Auto Safety in a petition last year said that in Ohio alone, more than 20,000 children were involved in crashes on school buses.

The NHTSA has said that the cost of adding seat belts at from $5,000 to $7,000 per bus, would force many district to eliminate bus service, forcing kids on the street to find a way home and creating a less safe environment.

The bus accident lawyers in Jacksonville at Farah & Farah remind readers that in a 2008 bus crash in Florida, a bus that had seat belts, there was one serious injury, while in a 1996 Arizona school bus crash without seat belts, multiple students were ejected from the bus including one who was permanently disabled.

Source: http://www.fairwarning.org/2011/08/regulators-veto-requiring-seat-belts-on-school-buses/