It is a common question asked by parents and community members on a regular basis: Why do school buses not have seat belts? People do not have to ask that question in this state, though, because Louisiana is one of a very few states that actually has a law requiring school buses to have them. According to the Louisiana State Legislature, occupant restraint systems on buses used to transport school children have been required since 2004.
While this provides some peace of mind, parents should be aware that even without seat belts, these are one of the safest vehicles on the road. According to the American School Bus Council, school buses are designed to provide safety and security for riders who are sitting in a proper position. The high seat backs and overall design of a bus are all part of the safety features that help keep kids from getting injured in an accident. Buses are higher profile than passenger vehicles, which affects crash impacts. They also have reinforced shells that are meant to prevent crushing of the exterior during a crash.
Some reasons why many states have not yet mandated seat belts on school buses is because of the way buses are used. They may carry passengers of varying ages, which means safety restraints may not fit every passenger properly. In addition, the passenger load may vary with each seat holding two or three passengers. Finally, because of the number of children, it can be difficult to ensure everyone is safely and properly secured into the seat belts.