Indirect Effects of School Bus Seat Belt Installation
Traveling by school bus is the safest mode for transporting pupils to school (NHTSA, 2020). Donoughe and Katz (2015) analyzed school bus crashes over a decade and found that of the fatal school bus-related crash injuries, 6.2% were school bus occupants. While compartmentalization inside the bus and other safety features outside the bus (such as the color of school buses) have contributed to the strong safety record of school buses, adding seat belts may further reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.
While the direct benefit of adding seat belts to school buses is to enhance the protection and safety already provided by compartmentalization (Kuppa, 2015), there may be indirect benefits as well, such as improved student behavior and reduced driver distraction. To explore these types of indirect benefits, data were collected through a variety of methods and sources on how seat belts may indirectly affect behavior and safety on school buses. This report synthesizes the results of a literature review and a program scan, as well as a survey of bus drivers and interviews with school district officials obtained from a concurrent NHTSA project.
Read the full report here.