Here are some frequently asked questions about topics we have recently discussed.
When do I have to stop for a school bus?
School bus stop laws vary slightly by state. Generally, when a school bus is stopped to pick up students, with its red lights flashing and its stop arm extended, vehicles traveling in the same direction have to stop for the bus. Vehicles traveling in the opposite direction also have to stop in some cases (2 lane roads) depending on the type of roadway (for example, whether there is a raised median in the of the street). Check your state laws to be certain.
Why don’t buses have seat belts?
Since 1977, school buses have been required to have a passive form form of occupant protection called compartmentalization – a closely spaced, energy-absorbing padded seating design. This has been one of the key factors in the yellow bus’ record as the safest form of transportation for students. Compartmentalization is particularly effective in frontal and rear impacts when students are seated properly, but federal safety authorities have found that three-point restraints can enhance protection for school bus passengers in severe side-impact and rollover crashes. Some school districts in states that don’t require three-point restraints have voluntarily implemented the restraints in their fleets. Federally, three-point belts are required only on small buses with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or less. California is currently the only state with an effective requirement for three-point belts. Many other states have considered school bus seat belt legislation but haven’t passed it.