Seat Belts in School Buses: Pros & Cons

A seat belt is a type of automotive safety system that is used to protect the driver or a passenger from a dangerous movement that could occur during a crash or a sudden stop.

Seat belts prevent almost half of major crash-related accidents and fatalities. Seat belts averted almost 15,000 deaths in 2017. Although airbags offer additional security, they are not a replacement for seat belts.

Today, we are having a look at the pros, cons of seat belts as well as the laws related to them in the US and Australia.

Do school buses have seat belts?

No! School buses don’t have seat belts. However, there are some places of exception: like a few states of the United States.

Large school buses are much heavier than small vehicles and light trucks and therefore disperse collision forces accordingly. Due to these distinctions, bus riders are subjected to far less crash force than passengers in freight vehicles, light trucks, and buses. Hence, buses usually don’t have seat belts.

In July 2013, the NSW Government (Australia) announced that seatbelts would be mandatory, and standing would be phased out, on school buses operated in rural and regional areas within 10 years. So, you know the answer for now.

School Bus Seat Belts: Pros

  • It improves behavior in school bus
  • Provides safety to children
  • Keeps children in place during impact

School Bus Seat Belts: Cons

  • School buses have excellent safety records. Hence, one is only seen as an expenditure
  • Drivers cannot be expected to police the proper use of seat belts
  • Seat belts can be used as a weapon if a dispute occurs between students
  • Seat belts may be a hindrance in case of events like fire, or an earthquake

What does the law say?

Unites States of America

As of 2019, eight states requires school bus passengers to wear seat belts. Seat belts are currently mandated by law in eight states, including Florida, California, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Jersey, Nevada, Texas, and New York, according to the National Conference of State Legislations.


As of now, seat belts in school buses are not compulsory in Australia. However, the government has presented its intentions to make it mandatory a few years back. Also, in 2017-18 budget $29 million in funding was allocated to install seat belts in school buses.

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