Many thousands of students take the bus to school each day in Tennessee and their safety is vitally important. A recent accident in Chattanooga in which five children were killed has left many people questioning how safe school buses are and what measures can be taken to improve safety standards.

According to CBS News, seat belts are required on buses in only six states and Tennessee is not one of them. While legislation making them mandatory has been introduced before, it never moved forward, most likely because the measure was seen as cost-prohibitive. Retrofitting buses to include shoulder and lap belts is estimated to cost as much as $10,000 for each bus. Seat belts on buses were officially endorsed by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in 2015.

Even without seat belts, school buses are considered one of the safest modes of transportation. Their bright yellow color makes them extremely visible to other vehicles on the road. In addition, elements of their design contribute to their safety. High seat backs protect children in the event of an impact and the height and heft of the buses provide additional security.

Riding to school is a bus is actually safer than walking to riding in a car notes the National Safety Council. In the absence of seat belts, there still some things that students can do to make their trips to and from school as safe as possible. These include staying seated whenever the bus is moving, refraining from putting anything out the window and not distracting the driver.


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