10 Reasons Why Don’t School Buses Have Seatbelts

School bus children

Why Don’t School Buses Have Seatbelts? The first reason is that school buses are designed to be safe without them. They have large, cushioned seats and high, padded backs that protect students in the event of a crash.

They also have energy-absorbing seat covers and side-impact protection that help to keep students safe. Another reason why seat belts aren’t required on school buses is that they can be a safety hazard. If a student is wearing a seat belt and the Bus is involved in a crash, they could be trapped in their seat and injured.

Seat belts can also make it difficult for students to evacuate the Bus in an emergency. Lastly, outfitting a school bus with seat belts can be prohibitive. Some estimates put the cost at around $7,000 per Bus.

That’s a lot of money for something that may not even be necessary. So, while seat belts can help keep students safe, there are several reasons why they’re not required on school buses.

Here are 10 Reasons why don’t school buses have seatbelts

Despite their overall safety, school buses typically lack seatbelts for their passengers. Seat belts have been required in most vehicles since 1968. However, this is not always the case on school buses.

There are several valid reasons why school buses are not required by law to have seatbelts installed for their passengers. There are some obvious explanations, but most will likely come as pleasant surprises.

1. It’s not required as per NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not mandate seatbelts on school buses in the United States if they weigh more than 10,000 pounds—the source of this information.

Seat belts are required by federal law for smaller buses, but the choice of whether to impose them for larger buses rests with individual states.

Now only six states mandate seat belts on school buses (California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas), and some only require them on newer buses.

2. Seat belts work differently

Standard seat belts wouldn’t work the same way in a crash as in other cars because school buses are designed; their presence may bring more harm than good to a body.

The seats on today’s school buses are relatively high, and the vehicles themselves are massive and hefty. Because of this, their safety is exceptional. Nearly 25 million students travel more than 4 billion miles annually on over 400 thousand public school buses.

According to studies, seat belts would not have prevented fewer than ten deaths annually in school bus accidents.

3. Buses are safer than other vehicles

Regarding safety, school buses rank high on the list of priorities. The seats on school buses feature tall backs and plenty of padding for comfort. Additionally, they are crammed closely together to achieve isolation. The children riding in them are protected from the majority of the impact in the case of an accident.

4. Seat belts would be pretty expensive to install

Putting seat belts in school buses is impractical due to budget constraints and contentious because authorities disagree on the best design for these restraints.

There is no assurance that children would utilize seat belts, even if installed, or use them correctly because of how much they move about. Since they must keep their eyes on the road at all times, bus drivers cannot be responsible for monitoring passengers’ use of safety belts.

Most states have decided that the added cost of installing seat belts in school buses isn’t worth it because, according to experts, using them in school buses doesn’t improve safety much. The associated costs are also not trivial. According to estimates, seat belts for all school buses may cost each state well over $100 million.

School Bus

5. Safety belt would restrict bus capacity

The addition of seatbelts to school buses is met with widespread concern from experts who worry it would restrict bus capacity.

If fewer kids can use the Bus, they may have little choice but to use alternative, more risky transportation methods to get to and from school.

6. Protect Your Kids on the Bus

While wearing a seat belt can save your life in the event of a car crash, there appear to be other, more effective ways to ensure the safety of students traveling to and from school via Bus.

To protect your children from potential harm while riding the school bus, they must understand what is and is not acceptable behavior.

7. kids would either not utilize seat belts or misuse them

Seat belts would be a great safety feature if only kids would use them, but even if every school bus had them, it’s doubtful that would happen. Imagine how difficult it would be to keep an eye on seventy or eighty kids at the back of a school bus when monitoring one or two is complicated!

8. The large, yellow school bus is merely large

A school bus’s safety features and requirements are the most stringent of any vehicle. Buses have “compartmentalization” features such as tightly spaced seats and high, energy-absorbing seat backs to keep passengers safe in the event of an accident.

The NTSB and the National Academy of Sciences investigated frontal and rear crashes, confirming the design’s efficacy.

9. Buses travel locally

School buses rarely go faster than 45 miles per hour. Therefore they typically stick to local roads. Compared to high-velocity highway collisions, those occurring on these suburban streets usually cause less damage.

10. Inconvenient to enforce

You can probably imagine the difficulty of monitoring and enforcing seat belts in a bus full of rowdy kids, especially since the bus driver is also responsible for safely transporting them.

Since it is common knowledge that this is an unrealistic expectation, car manufacturers have devised different means of keeping kids safe in collisions.


School buses typically lack seatbelts due to their safety features, such as significant, cushioned seats, high padded backs, and energy-absorbing seat covers. However, seat belts can pose safety hazards, make it difficult for students to evacuate in an emergency, and can be prohibitively expensive, with some estimates estimating the cost at around $7,000 per bus.

School buses are designed to be safer than other vehicles, with tall backs, padding, and isolation to protect children from impact. However, seat belts are not required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or for larger buses. School buses are also considered safer than other vehicles due to their high safety ratings, tall backs, and isolation.

Installing seat belts in school buses is impractical due to budget constraints and disagreements on the best design. Additionally, seat belts may restrict bus capacity, protect children from potential harm, and prevent them from using or misusing them. School buses are also primarily used on local roads, making them more inconvenient to enforce.