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 School Bus Safety

This page contains links to information from Safe Ride News and other sources on the topic of pupil transportation on school buses. They are provided for the benefit of transportation administrators, on-bus personnel (drivers, aides, monitors), medical therapists, CPSTs, and parents.

CPS Restraint Systems on School Buses National Training
     This NHTSA curriculum provides classroom and hands-on training on installing and using child safety restraint systems on large and small school buses. CEUs for CPSTs may be available—inquire with class organizer.

     The course can be taught by a CPST or CPST-instructor who has completed the course as a student. (The instructor team for any course offering should include at least one person with experience working in the school bus industry.)  

Click here to view the participant manual and course appendices.
Click here for a list of courses currently being offered.

CPS for School Buses listserv, moderated by Safe Ride News
     To sign up for the CPS for School Buses listserv, please click the following link. Sign Me Up

CSRS Usage Videos
Pre K School TransportationTitle: Pre-K School Transportation: A Guide to Choosing the Proper Child Restraint.
Run time: 15:35
Prepared by: SafeGuard and Safe Ride News
Presenter: Denise Donaldson 
   This video goes over how to transport Pre-K children on school buses, including a description of the types of child safety restraint systems that are available, selection guidelines to meet the child's needs, and key features of bus seating that must be considered.
   Click the photo above to watch the video.

Top 20 Usage BasicsTitle: Top 20 Usage Basics: Child Safety Restraint Systems on School Buses
Run time: 9:26
Prepared by: SafeGuard and Safe Ride News
Presenter: Denise Donaldson
   This video covers the top 20 steps for properly using child safety restraint systems on school buses.
   Click the photo above to watch the video.

NHTSA Head Announces Agency’s Strong Support of Lap-Shoulder Belts on All School Buses
     On November 8, Safe Ride News was in attendance when NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind addressed school bus industry leaders at the National Association for Pupil Transportation Annual Summit.  Administrator Rosekind, while reinforcing the fact that today’s school buses are the safest way to transport kids to school, voiced the agency’s strong support for the eventual goal of equipping all new school buses with lap-shoulder belts. 
     Click here to read more about what CPSTs should know.
     Click here to read a transcript of Administrator Rosekind’s speech.


Maintaining Your CSRS Investment
     SRN's Denise Donaldson prepared a PowerPoint® presentation on the proper maintenance of child safety restraint systems that you may borrow for your own trainings (please credit Safe Ride News Publications). Click here to open the presentation.

CSRS Inventory Management Guide
Click here for a sample CSRS Inventory Management Guide

NASDPTS Lap/Shoulder Belt Position Paper
     In February 2014, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) issued a revised position in support of lap-shoulder belts on school buses. Click here to read the paper.

Guideline for the Safe Transportation of Pre-school Age Children in School Buses
     Original NHTSA document on using child safety restraints on school buses for children below kindergarten age/size. Posted as a still-useful reference.

Choosing the Correct School Bus For Transporting Pre-School Age Children
     The transportation of pre-school age children in school buses has increased significantly, and will continue to increase. Organizations providing pre-school transportation extend beyond traditional school systems to include child care and Head Start programs. Regardless of which organization is transporting pre-school age children, the goal of all is to do so safely. This NHTSA publication will help you select the type of school bus you need and determine the features and equipment necessary to allow you to transport safely your pre-school passengers.


The School Bus Safety Handbook
Choosing and Using Child Safety Restraint Systems and Wheelchairs

Click here for more information.
Click here to order.

 Safe Ride News editorials and
articles on School Bus Safety
SRN Editorial: - Thursday, November 26, 2015
A Major Problem With Large School Buses?  Some Are Actually Small   As technician candidates, we learn that children on large school buses are protected by compartmentalization, but when the bus is small, seat belts are required to protect occupants properly.  We’re also taught that the cutoff between small and large buses is a 10,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). read more ...
NHTSA Day-Long Meeting Explores Issue of Seat Belts on School Buses - Saturday, October 03, 2015
On July 23, NHTSA convened an eight-hour meeting to discuss the “current state of knowledge” regarding three-point belt systems on school buses.
 read more ...
Motorcoach Safety: Agency Provides Guidance For Booking a Safer Trip - Saturday, October 03, 2015
  A motorcoach is a large, non-school bus that does not serve fixed routes (like city transit), but instead travels longer distances, usually on highways.  While motorcoaches have a relatively good safety record compared to most other vehicle types, they do not have many of the safety features required of school buses.  Nonetheless, groups of children frequently use these types of buses for field trips and sports outings, especially when the trip covers long distances.
 read more ...
School Bus Evacuation of Students in CSRS Requires Planning, Training - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

At the Transporting Students with Disabilities and Preschoolers (TSD) Conference in March, Charley Kennington, of Innovative Transportation Solutions, and Kathy Furneaux, of the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute, discussed an important aspect of transporting groups of children: having a plan for how to get all students off the vehicle quickly in an emergency.

 read more ...
SRN Editorial: Winds Blowing Warm and Cold for Seat Belts on School Buses - Thursday, December 01, 2011

Once again, in the heat of August, NHTSA aimed an icy blast at efforts to require lap-shoulder belts on all school buses. A petition submitted by Safe Ride News Publications and others in January, 2010 (SRN January/February 2010), after a fatal school bus crash in Connecticut, was denied by NHTSA on August 25, 2011. The agency said, “We have not found a safety problem supporting a federal requirement for lap-shoulder belts on large school buses, which are already safe.”

 read more ...
Babies on the School Bus - Saturday, October 01, 2011

When considering school bus occupants, very young children like preschoolers, toddlers and infants don’t typically come to mind. However, Nancy Netherland, Program and Design Management Specialist for Migrant Seasonal Head Start Training and Technical Assistance (MSHS TTA) reports that, of the approximately 35,000-37,000 children enrolled each year in the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program, more than half are under 3 years old, and some are as young as six weeks. Since approximately 67 percent of these young children are transported on school buses, this means that this program alone regularly transports more than 12,000 children each year who are 2 or younger.

 read more ...
Why No Boosters on Buses? - Tuesday, February 01, 2011

In October 2008, NHTSA published the "Federal Motor Vehicle Standards;Seating Systems, Occupant Crash Protection, Seat Belt Assemb;y Anchorages, School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection" final rule, the last components of which will take effect on October 21, 2011. Important among these is the requirement for new buses of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or less to be equipped with lap-shoulder belts, rather than lap-only belts, in all positions.

 read more ...
Getting Involved in School Bus CPS - Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Child restraint use on school buses is recognized as a best practice necessity nowadays. School districts regularly transport children with special needs who must ride in child safety restraint systems, and in some districts infants ride to school programs with their teenage moms. Additionally, the law requires that the nearly 1 million children in Head Start programs all ride in an appropriate CR. These students are mostly 4 years old or younger, and may be as young as 6 weeks.

 read more ...
Connecticut Bus Crash Leads to Legislation Proposal - Saturday, January 09, 2010

On January 9, 2010, a fatal crash occurred on a Connecticut highway when a bus carrying 16 high school students plunged off an elevated section of I-84. One boy, Vikas Parikh, died and everyone else on board was injured in some way. The school bus had no seat belts.
The Hartford Courant quoted a student who had been on the bus: “All of a sudden, we were [all] airborne . . . the bus hit like three times and we hit down finally to a stop and like half the kids, some of them were like wedged into the seats.”
State Rep. Antonio Guerrera, from Parikh’s hometown of Rocky Hill, has not waited for a crash analysis to promise to introduce legislation this session to require seat belts on new buses. He is co-chair of the General Assembly Transportation Committee. Similar bills have been introduced more than 20 times in Connecticut. The Hartford Courant has endorsed this effort.
Source: Hartford Courant, linked below.

 read more ...
NTSB Report Released on Florida Bus Crash - Thursday, November 12, 2009

On November 12, 2009, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which examines all fatal and significant crashes, released its report on the Milton, Florida, school bus crash that occurred on May 28, 2008. In that crash, 14 third graders on a field trip were in a bus that rolled over completely at least twice on a major highway. All were wearing lap belts. The driver (in a lap-shoulder belt) and one student (whose belt apparently was loose) had serious but not potentially disabling injuries. None of the others had more than minor injuries.
Source: NTSB, report #HAB-09-03, linked below.

 read more ...
New School Bus Seat Belt Rule Set - Monday, December 01, 2008

In October 2008, upgraded federal school bus seating requirements were issued. This is the biggest change in FMVSS 222 since it first went into effect in 1977.

 read more ...

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