Every day across the country, nearly 500,000 buses carry more than 25 million students to and from school and activities.
School buses are the safest vehicles on the road, and one of the safest modes of transportation overall. In fact, children are much safer traveling in school buses than in any other vehicle, whether they’re going to or from school, a field trip, or a sporting event. They’re even safer riding in a school bus than in a car with their parents.
School buses use a unique technology called compartmentalization—a passive occupant protection system. School bus seats, made with an energy-absorbing steel inner structure and high, padded seat backs, are secured to the school bus floor. Students are protected within the seating compartment much like eggs in a carton.
Although school buses are extremely safe, we have investigated school bus crashes in which children were injured and even killed. These were typically side-impact crashes or high-speed rollovers. In these accidents, compartmentalization was not enough to prevent all injuries; for some of the children involved, a seat belt could have lessened their injuries or even saved their lives. As a result of our school bus crash investigations, we believe—and have recommended—that, when investing in new school buses, the purchased vehicles should provide children with the best protection available, which includes 3-point seat belts.
Below are school bus safety resources and our investigation reports of school bus crashes involving both seat belted and non-belted passengers.
School Bus Safety Video
NTSB Presents - School Bus Safety
School Bus Crash Animations
(NTSB YouTube Channel)
Related School Bus Crash Briefs/Reports: