RICHMOND, Va. — State pupil transportation directors here expressed support for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s new position on three-point seat belts for school buses.
As previously reported, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind gave an address to industry groups gathered in Richmond on Sunday, saying that the agency now believes that “every child on every school bus should have a three-point seat belt.”
Rosekind also said that while school buses are still the safest form of student transportation, seat belts can make them safer. “The position of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is that seat belts save lives,” he said. “That is true whether in a passenger car or in a big, yellow bus.”
On Monday, Leon Langley, president of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), responded to Rosekind’s remarks in a statement from NASDPTS.
“We are encouraged by the administrator’s remarks about the agency’s position,” Langley said. “It supports our position paper, ‘The Equipping and Use of Passenger Lap/Shoulder Belts in School Buses, February 2014,’ and is consistent with it.”
In that position paper, NASDPTS endorsed three-point belts for school buses, saying that they “should be encouraged as an option when considering new bus original equipment specifications.”
On Monday, NASDPTS also highlighted Rosekind’s pledge that “NHTSA will seek to use all the tools at our disposal to help achieve” the goal of three-point belts for all school bus passengers.
“We believe this support from NHTSA will trigger discussions by federal, state and local agencies about how resources can be allocated to begin putting three-point belts in new school buses throughout the nation,” Langley said.
“We know that parents can be confident in the world’s safest form of student transportation, the yellow school bus,” Langley added. “We also know that three-point lap/shoulder belts are a proven safety technology that has saved thousands of lives in nearly all forms of surface transportation vehicles for over 40 years.”
The NASDPTS conference also offered presentations by other federal officials, including David Cooper from the Transportation Security Administration, Larry Minor from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Jennifer Keller from the Environmental Protection Agency and Thomas Barth from the National Transportation Safety Board.
Also among the NASDPTS sessions were discussions on such safety topics as student dragging incidents, bus fires and stop-arm violations.
Next year’s NASDPTS conference will be held in Kansas City, Missouri, in November.