The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is changing its policy to encourage all states to require that school buses provide seat belts in an effort to make buses safer and reduce serious injuries and deaths of school children. Right now only six states require seat belts on school buses. These states are:
- New Jersey
- New York
NHTSA Has a Three-Part Program to Get Seat Belts on Buses
NHTSA wants all school buses to provide three-point seat belts. The estimated cost per bus would be between $7,000 and $10,000—not an inexpensive cost for school districts. In an effort to get states and schools to comply with this requirement, NHTSA plans the following:
- NHTSA will initiate research projects on school bus safety data, with an emphasis on how seat belts safe lives. This will include studying the impact mandating seat belts has had in states like Texas that require them.
- NHTSA will contact safety advocates and examine its own resources to find ways to lessen the financial barriers to making seat belts standard on school buses.
- NHTSA is asking governors from states mandating seat belts to nominate a state and school official to provide recommendations on how NHTSA can best begin a national campaign to get seat belts on school buses. While NHTSA is not beginning the rule-making process of requiring seat belts on school buses, it has not ruled this out and is seeking advice from these nominees on whether this needs to be done.
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