The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services has released an official position paper on the equipping and use of lap and shoulder belts in school buses.
An excerpt from the position statement can be viewed below. To download the entire position paper, download the attachment at the bottom of this page.
As an association with a primary leadership role in issues relating to student transportation safety, environmental responsibility, and access to education, NASDPTS fully supports state and local decisions for the installation and use of lap/shoulder belts in school buses. NASDPTS is not advocating that the installation and/or use of lap/shoulder belts be required by state or local jurisdictions without thorough consideration of available resources. NASDPTS believes this decision should be based on state or local need, but also believes lap/shoulder belt equipped seats should be encouraged as an option when considering new bus original equipment specifications. NASDPTS further believes that states and local jurisdictions should require proper usage by all students when belts are available and should provide related notices, training and enforcement.
NASDPTS supports the NHTSA position stated in the 2007 NPRM that this local decision should not be made at the expense of students being displaced from school bus transportation. A state or local district that does decide to proceed with lap/ shoulder belts should consider the following points on usage arising from the NTSB report on the Chesterfield, New Jersey crash:
- A usage policy must exist for buses equipped with passenger restraints.
- A training program must exist for proper usage and adjustment of passenger restraints.
- A training program must exist for evacuation that includes unbuckle drills.