The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is changing its stance on seat belts, saying for the first time that all school buses need to have three-point belts.
Previously, the NHTSA said buses were safe without seat belts, and it was too expensive to retrofit them. "Is this a change in position? Yes," NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said Sunday. "But it is consistent with NHTSA's role as the guardian of safety on America's roads. It is consistent with decades of progress in raising seat belts in the minds of the public from novelty to nuisance to 'the car doesn't move until I hear that click.' Seat belts are icons of safety."
Just six states require school buses to have seat belts, NBC News reports, and the National Association for Pupil Transportation, a school bus industry group, said it believes it should be up to cities and states, not the federal government, to decide if school buses have seat belts. "States and local school districts are better able to recognize and analyze school transportation risks particular to their areas and identify approaches to best manage and reduce those safety risks," the organization said in a statement.