The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday released a video highlighting school buses as the safest form of transportation for children traveling to and from school – even safer than riding in a car with their parents.
Children are safer in school buses because the buses are designed with a form of occupant protection called compartmentalization. The design of the seats — featuring high seatbacks, closely spaced apart, with energy absorbing properties – creates a compartment that protects children.
“NTSB has found that compartmentalization works well to protect children in frontal and rear impact crashes, but, in some side-impact or high-speed rollover crashes, compartmentalization is not enough to prevent injuries,” said NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “This is because the seatback does not prevent motion from side-to-side or up-down. In those very rare instances, for some children, a seat belt could have reduced injuries and even saved lives.”
The video also examines three recent crashes in Chesterfield, New Jersey, Port St. Lucie, Florida, and Anaheim, California that have provided the NTSB with valuable information about school buses, compartmentalization, and seat belts. Additional information about these crashes, along with the safety video, can be found on the NTSB website page dedicated to school bus safety at www.ntsb.gov/safety/Pages/schoolbuses.aspx.