RESEARCH - Seatbelts on the School Bus

School BusI am frequently asked why school buses don't have seatbelts. The Alabama School Bus Seat Belt Pilot Project put seatbelts in school buses and studied their benefits. The study found a wearing rate of just under 62%. This resulted in, on average, saving 0.13 lives and 7.60 injuries per year. The seat belts were 39% effective in reducing fatalities and 13% effective in reducing injuries. However, the change in injuries was better than it first appeared. Although few injuries were prevented, many serious injuries were made less serious injuries by the belts.

The researchers did a cost/benefit analysis and found that the cost of installing seatbelts exceeded the cost saved by preventing injury or death. They felt that the money spent on installing seatbelts would be better spent on reducing incidents that occurred around the bus when loading and unloading, which significantly exceed those occurring inside the bus itself.

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