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School buses are about to get safer

One Company Is Making Its School Buses Safer With 3-Point Seat Belts

It wasn’t until 1984 that the first U.S. state — New York — mandated the use of seat belts for vehicle occupants. The majority of the country would soon follow, and it’s hard to imagine not having such laws today, given how many lives the devices save each year. Yet, school buses seem to be behind the times: most still use lap belts, rather than the much safer three-point ones that cars have.

One bus company is catching up, though. Blue Bird recently announced that it will make three-point seat belts the standard in all of its school buses, “an industry first,” President Britton Smith told CBS News. They will come at no extra cost to customers.

Other new safety features include steering wheel-deployed air bags for drivers, high-intensity LED lighting systems, front and rear cameras, and lighted stop sign arms.

“This is a historic event,” Mark Rosekind, a former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said at an event announcing the changes last week, per School Transportation News. “Blue Bird deserves huge credit. Every bus manufacturer should have three-point belts on them. This is what real safety leadership looks like. Lives will be saved in the future.

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I am a strong advocate of seat belts. I was installing them in my cars long before they were required or sometimes even available in new cars. And given that background let me point out that installing seat belts in school buses is basically nonsense. School buses are involved in so few "accidents" and have so few injuries that the cost /benefit of belts in them is such that it makes no sense to have belts. They simply will make no meaningful difference. While they will add cost to both purchase and maintenance. And let's not even get started on the ways in which the "children" can use them to torture each other. Strange as it may seem this …

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