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School bus seat belt requirements in Massachusetts

Parents across the nation seek to ensure that their children are safe. This includes making sure that their children get to and from school in a safe manner. Not all parents are able to pick up and drop off their children, so school buses are relied upon by many parents. While this is considered a reliable means to get students to and from school on a timely basis, these large vehicles do present some concerns regarding safety.

According to a recent report, parents in Massachusetts and elsewhere have stressed their concern regarding school bus safety. And now, the federal government is seeking to change laws across the nation regarding seat belts on school buses. After reviewing crash tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is claiming that seat belts would reduce injuries and save lives in the event of a school bus accident.

Currently, only six states in the nation requires kids to wear seat belts while traveling on a school bus. The states that do not require or provide them claim that it is too costly. According to some school districts, equipping one bus with safety belts could cost between $8,000 and $15,000. These are funds that most school districts do not have.

And, while cost is commonly cited as the reason why most states do not offer school buses that have seat belts, some parents argue that seat belts make it more difficult for students to get out of the bus in an emergency. Additionally, providing seat belts on a school bus also presents some liability issues, especially if a child was injured while not properly using the seat belt.

While there are many reasons for and against the use of seal belts on school buses in Massachusetts and other states, it is important to understand ways to best address safety concerns on school buses so serious injuries can be avoided. Taking these steps not only helps reduce these types of accidents, but could also help investigators better understand the cause and liability in a bus accident.

Source: Wwlp.com, "Why Massachusetts doesn't require seat belts on school buses," Julianna Mazza, Nov. 11, 2015

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