Just as children across the country started school, federal officials denied a petition to require seat belts on school buses. According to injuryboard.com, the Center for Auto Safety and the National Coalition for School Bus Safety (NCSBS) petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for seatbelts on buses. The NHTSA denied their request.
The NHTSA says school buses are safe enough already. According to injuryboard.com, approximately 19 kids die each year in bus accidents. Representatives from the NHTSA say seatbelts would do nothing to lower the fatality rate. The heavily padded seats on school buses protect children during a crash, says the NHTSA.
Then there is the cost. Experts say it would cost millions of dollars to retrofit school buses with seatbelts. It is a cost that financially strapped communities and school districts cannot afford, say some experts. At present, Texas and California require seatbelts on school buses.
A representative for the NCBSB said that the NHTSA has a history of fighting this issue. It is odd that officials require seatbelts in every other vehicle except school buses, which carry the youngest passengers, added the NCBSB spokesperson.
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