The NTSB disagrees. The NTSB is responsible for major crash investigations involving trucks, aircraft, trains, etc., and after a thorough investigation of several horrific crashes, released findings calling for enhanced school bus safety.
In 2008, NHTSA was set to enact new regulations requiring three point seat belts, but it only went as far as mandating them in small, van-based buses, and not Class C and D buses that the majority of school children ride on.
This is the NHTA’s official position on school bus seat belts:
“There is insufficient reason for a Federal mandate for seat belts on large school buses.
School bus transportation is one of the safest forms of transportation in the United States. We require all new school buses to meet safety requirements over and above those applying to all other passenger vehicles.
These include requirements for improved emergency exits, roof structure, seating and fuel systems, and bus body joint integrity. These requirements help ensure that school buses are extremely safe.”
For now, parents will continue to face significant fines if their children aren’t buckled up in their passenger cars, but kids in most states will remain untethered when they ride to school.