Feds reject request to require seat belts on school buses
By Ashley Halsey III, Published: August 25
As almost a half-million school buses this week began the annual ritual that will take them an estimated 4.2 billion miles by the time school lets out next spring, federal authorities have concluded that equipping them with seat belts is an unnecessary expense.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rejected a petition by safety advocates who sought a federal mandate to require school bus seat belts.
“We care deeply about schoolchildren and feel that the steps we’ve taken are in the best interests of safety,” said Ronald Medford, deputy administrator at NHTSA.
The petitioners, led by the Center for Auto Safety and the National Coalition for School Bus Safety, said they were disappointed but not surprised by the decision.
“It just confirms the long history of NHTSA in opposition to child restraints in school buses,” said Arthur Yeager of the school bus coalition. “There is a certain hypocrisy in their supporting seat belts in virtually every other type of vehicle under their control except for school buses.”