Many parents wonder why their child doesn't buckle up on their way to and from school on the bus. In this article, learn why seat belts aren't in most buses.

Should School Buses Be Required To Have Seat Belts?

As parents, we are always telling our children to buckle their seat belt – and not wearing a safety belt is actually illegal for children in Washington State in most circumstances. So – why aren’t school buses required to have seat belts?

The answer may be more complicated that it first seems. The first part of the answer is obvious: outfitting buses with seat belts would cost public schools around the country millions of dollars – something that many districts simply can’t afford in these tough times. The cost of adding seat belts to one new bus would be between $8,000 and $15,000 – a steep price tag for most schools.

The next part of the answer may be surprising: full-sized school buses are one of the safest ways to travel in the country. Despite the fact that almost half a million buses carry children to and from activities each day, only around six children die in school bus accidents each year. Why are these buses so safe, even without seat belts? Traffic safety experts explain that buses are big, heavy, and high off the ground – and that sturdy padded seats with high backs keep kids compartmentalized during crashes. Fatalities usually only take place when a rollover accident occurs and children are ejected from the vehicle. In fact some studies even suggest that school bus accidents would incur more head and neck injuries if children did wear restraints while riding – children vary in size so much during their school careers that designing safety belts that fit children properly K-12 would be difficult.

Of course, although there are few fatalities and serious injuries in school bus accidents each year, does that mean we should call good enough good enough? Some parents, especially those who have lost children, say no. To them, one lost life is too many. 

Has your child been injured or killed in a Washington State school bus accident? Talk to a Seattle injury attorney today. We do not charge a fee when taking child injury cases.