When transporting a sizeable amount of people, school buses are often one of most common and most cost-efficient forms of wheels on the road. While they may be hulking machines, the rare occurrence has shown that they’re not without accidents, and that’s drawn the ire of the public.

Since their passengers are usually school children, the question of why school buses continue to go without seat belts persists to the day. However, there are many reasons as to why there are no seat belts in school buses, with measures in place to keep passengers big and small safe from accidents.

Read on to find out more about the built-in features that keep school buses passengers big and small safe, and what standard safety tips you can ask your group to follow the next time you rent a school bus!

Are school buses safe?

Very. According to experts and the Canada Safety Council, it’s one of the safest methods of road transportation with no evidence demonstrating that the presence of seatbelts would increase safety. Furthermore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States reported that less than 1% of all fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes were related to school transportation. These factors make for an almost impeccable safety record.

Why are school buses so safe?

Considering all of the safety features in every school bus—specialized brake systems, lighting, emergency exits, and escape hatches in the roof—in addition to being bigger, heavier, and higher, the element of safety has been applied to every possible angle. These are all in place to keep school buses from getting into accidents, and if they do, they are constructed in such a way to prioritize the safety of everyone aboard.

Why aren’t school buses using seatbelts?

School buses are most often used to transport children, and the only adult in the vehicle is there to drive. In the instance where there was an accident, the driver would likely have to unbuckle the passengers, a time-consuming process that could prove dangerous for others.

How do school buses compensate for the lack of seatbelts?

The high padded seats of the average full-size school bus are filled with energy-absorbing material meant to take the impact of a collision and encase the passenger, protecting them for fatal injuries. They’re also heavily anchored to the floor; if there were seatbelts in place and whiplash were to occur, a passenger’s head could hit the back of the seat in front of them as opposed to the whole body, resulting in greater injury.

What safety measures can be taken when riding a school bus?

It’s not because they aren’t tethered to their seats by a seatbelt that passengers should be running around the school bus. If you’ve chosen a standard school bus to transport your group to a destination, make sure that everyone follows these steps to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable ride.

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Passengers & Seating

While school buses have large seats, it’s important to restrict your passengers to two (2) people per seat, and make sure that passengers’ arms and legs inside of the bench’s edge. Passengers are safest inside of the bus, but not outside of it! All passengers should keep their arms, legs, and heads inside of the bus at all times.

Baggage & Other Objects

While all the school bus’ safety measures prevent people from being bumped around, their bags can be! To prevent accidents, make sure everyone stores their bags on their laps, or under seats.  Anything placed in the aisle of the vehicle can go flying forward if the bus stops abruptly. To be extra safe, make sure everyone is carrying soft-shell bags like backpacks, rather than anything with a hard shell or sharp edges.

Infants & Car Seats

Children and car seats: If you find yourself travelling with infants, there are fixtures available for their car seats. Don’t carry an infant in your arms, or in an unsecured car seat! In the case where you are renting a school bus out for travels, ask for a bus that has clips. It’s that simple.

We’re told that when we’re riding in a vehicle that we should make sure to put on our seat belts. The next time someone asks why there isn’t any seat belt for them in a school bus, you’ll only need to spread the word: It is, in fact, less safe for them to be there.


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