School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation in the United States, as they are designed with different safety features than other passenger vehicles. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation school buses found that school buses are approximately seven times safer than passenger cars or light trucks.
School buses are larger and heavier than most vehicles, and distribute crash force differently than cars. School buses also utilize passenger seat crash protection known as “compartmentalization,” which are flexible, padded, energy-absorbent, high seat backs in a narrow space that confine occupants in a crash. However, some smaller school buses (less than 10,000 pounds) are required to have seat belts.
Pre-school aged children should be restrained in child passenger seats when they ride a school bus. Children with special needs may also need a restraint system.