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Pendergast Law Personal Injury Lawyers

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Why don’t school buses have seatbelts?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Personal Injury

School buses are not often involved in accidents, but it does happen. Parents may worry that their children are going to be injured in these crashes, and they count on the bus driver to keep them safe.

But most school buses do not have seatbelts. These are a fundamental part of safety in a smaller car, and it’s even illegal for people to drive without a seatbelt on. So why is it that buses don’t have seatbelts at all, especially when they are transporting dozens of children every day? 

Different safety systems

When the government decided how to define school bus safety, they settled on something called compartmentalization. This means that the bench seats are close together, so it’s difficult for children to move very much even in the event of a crash. The seatbacks are also heavily padded so that a child will not be injured when making contact with the seat, such as when the bus is involved in a head-on accident or when the driver has to abruptly hit the brakes.

One key thing to remember is that injuries in car accidents are largely dependent on the size and weight of the vehicles involved in the crash. The larger the vehicle, the less energy is transferred into it during an accident. Because school buses are so much heavier than most of the vehicles around them, it is more likely that those in passenger cars will be injured. In other words, seat belts are less necessary because of the bus’s size and how that protects the students.

Of course, injuries can still happen. Those whose children have been injured need to know how to seek financial compensation.