Seat Belts in School Buses – What Safety Precautions Are in Place for Florida School Children?

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In Florida, some may think that it is very safe for a child to be transported in the typical yellow school bus. However, many people do not realize the seat belt regulations or the lack of seat belt regulations that have been in place for many years in the State of Florida and other States. Would a seat belt make travel on a school bus safer? Should seat belts be limited to lap belts? Should a seat belt be comprised of both a lap belt and shoulder harness? These are all excellent questions on the issue of school bus and seat belt safety.

Unfortunately, children are the unfortunate victims of accidents involving school buses and automobiles. If a child is injured as a result of a Florida school bus accident, it is often times helpful to consult with a Florida child injury attorney to find out the child’s legal rights and the availability of insurance and other forms of compensation for the injured child.

Lap belts are now required on newer school buses. That leaves open the provision of safety belts on older school buses. Furthermore, shoulder harnesses are not currently mandated on either older school buses or newer school buses in Florida.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now requires shoulder harness seat belts on smaller school buses. As to the larger school buses commonly seen in most Florida cities and communities, the NHTSA has left it to the individual States to make the decision as to the provision or requirement of shoulder harnesses and lap belts as part of the safety belt / seat belt for children.

If you have a child attending school and riding a bus, you should find out the following:

What bus will my child be transported on?

What is the size and type of the bus?

What type of seat belts are provided on the bus?

What does State law require as to seat belts on this type and year of bus?

What does Federal law require as to seat belts on this type and year of bus?

What do the local school board rules and regulations provide or require as to transportation and safety during transportation?

Children, who are riding on a school bus, suffer personal injuries when there is a crash that results from the school bus driver’s negligence or the negligence of another driver. It is important that all drivers including school bus drivers do their best to avoid driver distraction and obey all applicable Florida traffic rules and regulations. See Florida Traffic Rules and Regulations – Frequently Asked Questions.

See also Manatee County School Bus Accident for a discussion on the Florida and National seat belt rules and regulations.