Note Who Gets Exempted From This Regulation

The Feds are going to require seat belts on buses:

Beginning in November 2016, all new motorcoaches and some other large buses must be equipped by manufacturers with three-point lap-shoulder belts, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

Ahh, but there is an exemption

The rule doesn’t apply to school buses or city transit buses.

What do these two exempted categories have in common:  They mostly belong to governments (public schools or public transit agencies).  So the government comes up with an expensive new regulation, but exempts itself from it, applying it to only private operators (who own a minority of buses in the country).


  1. J Calvert:

    Please, won't someone think of the children!

  2. Commenta Kommenter:

    To be fair, the number of injuries and deaths that can be anticipated from children on school buses whacking each other with belts, and strangling each other with them, turns out to greatly exceed the number of injuries and deaths that would be prevented. (Seriously. There was a nice journal paper laying out the calculations.) So this is actually an appropriate exception. And they *did* think of the children!

  3. MingoV:

    This topic came up years ago. Passengers who were on a bus involved in a serious accident were less likely to be injured than someone in the front seat of a car that had accidental triggering of its air bag. The buses weigh so much that no collision with a car or SUV will cause significant injuries.

    I was the first person on the scene of a school bus - pickup truck accident. The elderly school bus driver pulled out directly in front of a pickup truck going 55 mph (in a 55 zone). The impact was just behind the bus driver. The pickup truck driver had a broken leg and minor injuries. The school bus driver had a sprained thumb. The school kids had no injuries.

  4. Dan:

    It makes sense to exempt school buses, either from the standpoint of the inherent safety of compartmentalization, or the inherent risk of trying to evacuate 60-80 strapped in kids during a fire. Unless you are California, then you mandate them anyway.

  5. Craig L:

    I see no requirement that people actually wear them.

  6. rst1317:

    A fire? You sound like one of my great uncles in the upper midwest who would get all crotchety and complain about seat belts and claim people shouldn't wear them cuz they need to be able to get out in case their car went in the water. Never mind in the _rare_ accidents that involves a car going in the drink, it's hard to get out of the car if you're unconscious after your head smashed the windshield and then the dashboard since you didn't have a seatbelt on.

    To be fair, I do not know that vehicle fires are rare compared to regular accidents. But if school buses catching fire isn't more rare of an occurrence then them being in a fender bender, we need to treat the disease not the symptom and improve designs to reduce the rate of occurrence of those fires.

  7. Dan:

    You sound like one of my great uncles in the upper midwest who would get all crotchety and complain about seat belts
    If that's what I sound like, forgive me, it wasn't my intent. Seat belts make good sense, in the right application. Getting school kids to use them, good luck. My real fault with putting seatbelts on school buses is that somewhere around 70% of school transportation-related fatalities happen outside of the bus. Perhaps our resources would be better deployed there.

  8. c_andrew:

    And notice who is exempted from legislation they helped to write. You don't have to be a gov't entity to be exempted from onerous regulations. Just have a good oral, er, I mean, Political arrangement with da guv!

  9. rst1317:

    Good point. I was thinking in terms of that it doesn't matter what the probability is, it's the consequences. You were speaking toward the opportunity costs. As you can see, I didn't even think of that aspect before typing. Thank you for pointing that out.