NHTSA makes new push to require seat belts on school buses

The seat belts will be installed this summer, after kids are out of school. Officials say if the pilot goes well, Westfield schools will add more seat belts. (WISH Photo)

(WISH/WRIC) – There’s a new push to require seat belts on school buses. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is – for the first time – endorsing three-point seat belts on school buses.

In the past the agency has said retrofitting buses with seat belts would be too costly, saying buses without seat belts are safe.

Only six states in the U.S. currently require seat belts.

The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it’s an expensive challenge, but it will “save the lives of children.” 

The change in position doesn’t carry any requirements or rules. The agency says pursuing a regulation requiring seat belts could take close to a decade.

A group representing the school bus industry says decisions on whether to require seat belts on buses should be left to individual cities and states.

On average, five people in the U.S. die each year in school bus crashes. The government is hoping new rules will help that number go down.

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