NHTSA to hold meeting on school bus seat belts

Thomas McMahon
Posted on July 10, 2015
An upcoming NHTSA meeting will “address the challenges and barriers that have prevented schools from taking action to install three-point seat belt systems in school buses.”

An upcoming NHTSA meeting will “address the challenges and barriers that have prevented schools from taking action to install three-point seat belt systems in school buses.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three-point seat belts in school buses will be the subject of a public meeting to be held here later this month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The agency announced the meeting in the Federal Register on Friday. The event will be held on July 23 at the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters.

In the title of the Federal Register notice, the meeting is referred to as “School Bus Occupant Protection: Taking Safety to a New Level.”

“NHTSA is hosting a meeting to address the challenges and barriers that have prevented schools from taking action to install three-point seat belt systems in school buses,” according to the notice. “This meeting will update the current state of knowledge regarding occupant protection technology on school buses, identify operational challenges, and explore new approaches for funding mechanisms.”

Three-point (or lap-shoulder) belts are federally required on small school buses — specifically, those weighing 10,000 pounds or less — but NHTSA has long declined to mandate belts on large school buses. In February, shortly after he was sworn in to lead NHTSA, Administrator Mark Rosekind announced that the agency was convening a panel to examine the issue of seat belts on school buses.

Rosekind came to NHTSA after serving as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which in 2013 expressed its support for seat belts on school buses after investigating two fatal school bus crashes. NTSB has been invited to NHTSA’s July 23 meeting to present its findings and recommendations from school bus crash investigations.

Also among the issues on the meeting agenda are seating capacity, strategies for communicating with parents and children, and training programs for school bus drivers and students.

The meeting will include brief presentations and breakout group discussions with NHTSA representatives and school transportation officials.

For information on attending the event, go here. The meeting is also slated to be webcast live at

Related Topics: NHTSA, NTSB, seat belts

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
Comments ( 2 )
  • Margaret Bertwell

     | about 5 years ago

    The studies have been done, Michelle. I don't think that is the issue. Any school bus driver will tell you that 90% of students (including special-ed) know how to get out of their seat belts. Students in safety vests, car seats and wheelchairs always present a problem and a concern. I have been in this business for the past 30 years. Twenty-seven of them in the capacity of a "Safety Supervisor". The controversy over mandatory seat belt regulations has been going on for probably the past twenty years. I would think that twenty years would be enough time to do "studies" about the use of seat belts on school buses? Where do most injuries occur on a school bus? Inside the bus. Why? Because the students are not sitting properly in the vehicle, or they're not in their seats at all. My granddaughters, ages 17 and 9 were coming home from school on the bus this past April, when a "drunk driver" in a pick-up truck ran a stop sign and slammed into their bus right were the girls where sitting. The 17 year old was snoozing with her head rested on the window (no seat belt) and the 9 year old was sitting in the same seat on the aisle(no seat belt). The oldest girl's head hit the window, causing a cut on her head and a good size bump. The impact caused her glasses to fly off her face. They were found two seats in front of her. The little one landed on the floor, of course, and she had sever pain in her hip. Both were taken to the hospital. Chloe (17) was diagnosed with a concussion and Michaela (9) had a bruised hip, which she still complains about today. Even though my daughter has strict rules about seat belts, and Michaela was in a booster sit until she was 8, her kids made the decision not to wear their seat belts because they didn't "have" to. I thank god every day that they are ok. It could have been a lot worse. I hope the driver is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, which we all know he will be given a chance to "plea" bargain. Would seat bel

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