Should Seat Belts be on School Buses?

I know when my oldest son starts kindergarten next year; I plan on taking him to and from school. That is one perk of being a stay-at-home mom. However, when I return to the classroom and begin teaching again after his younger brother is in school, both of my boys will need to ride the bus to school. This has me wondering if I would feel my boys were safer if the bus they ride on had seat belts and all students would need to be buckled up.

It seems very logical that seat belts would and should be mandatory. Seat belts are lifesavers, after all. But is it the same for buses? It actually turns out, according to the school bus drivers themselves, seat belts on buses may not be as safe as most people would think. Add what the bus drivers think to what the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has found, it turns out that kids are not any safer on a bus with seat belts than without them.

Bus drivers have many concerns when it comes to kids buckling up on the bus. Evidently, in some buses that have seat belts, students have actually turned these life saving devices into weapons and they have been used to harm other children. It is also almost impossible to make sure that every child buckles up and to make sure that child stays buckled up the entire bus ride to and from school. One last concern bus drivers have is that should there be an actual bus accident, it may be hard to evacuate the bus with children buckled in. It could actually deter children from getting out of the bus in a timely and safe manner.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHSTA), school buses are one of the most safe forms of travel out there. School buses, at least the new ones, must meet safety requirements, and exceed those of other forms of passenger transportation. The NHTSA therefore believes that seat belts should not be a federally mandated law for school buses.

What do you think? Would you feel safer having your child buckled up on the bus or do you believe that buses are built safe enough to protect your child should, God forbid, there be a school bus crash? I would love to hear your two cents!