There are many reasons that school buses should install seat belts for the children riding them and many reasons why they are not already installed in every bus. All 50 states, with the exception of New Hampshire, have an adult safety belt law. But only six states have passed a bill regarding seat belts in school buses.
New York was the first state to pass a seat belt law for school buses, followed by New Jersey, California, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. While these six states have a law in place, not all of the states require lap and shoulder belts and others have not been enforced due to insufficient funding, including Texas and Louisiana. Florida has begun requiring two-point belts on buses, but doesn’t make funding available to school districts. New York allows individual school boards to decide if they will provide seat belts on buses. Each year 20 – 30 states take up the issue with some localities getting further along in the process than others. Select school districts across the country have chosen to install seat belts without a statewide mandate.
“Click It or Ticket” – many wonder why this does not apply to children on school buses. Federal law requires seat belts in buses under 10,000 pounds, but that’s only a small portion of the buses in use – mostly 6 – 12 passengers.
Next week we will talk about why some studies show we don’t need seat belts in school buses.