School Bus Safety

Adopted March 1986 – Revised April 2015 – Community Concerns Commission

The California State PTA recognizes that school buses are a safe mode of transportation for students. PTA believes, however, that there is a need for continuing efforts by school districts, the legislature, and other government agencies to study, evaluate, and enact legislation to improve safety in the construction and operation of school buses so that they may be safe for all children.

California State PTA believes efforts to improve school bus safety should include:

  • Replacement of Type 1 school buses built before 7/1/2004 with buses that meet Federal Safety School Bus Regulations;
  • Compliance with existing state and federal school bus regulations in the operation of all Type I and Type II†† school buses;
  • Inclusion of a three (3) point restraint per student on buses manufactured before 7/1/2004;
  • Periodic monitoring of passenger and school bus driver seat belt usage;
  • Continued school bus safety education programs for drivers and passengers including correct restraint usage and periodic school bus evacuation drills; and
  • Continued study of additional methods of improving school bus safety measures for students riding in pre-2002 school buses, until such time as these buses may be eliminated from school districts’ fleets.

California State PTA recognizes that, in view of mandatory automobile seat belt/restraint laws, there is a growing public concern regarding the absence of seat belts on school buses.

California State PTA encourages further research into all safety-related aspects of school bus construction, including the feasibility of additional safety equipment, especially on pre-2002 vehicles.

Type I – large school bus weighing more than 10,000 pounds GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating). Buses manufactured after 7/1/2004 are required to have driver seat belt to meet federal safety standards and a combination of pelvic and upper torso restraint harness for passengers.

†† Type II – school bus designed to carry less than 16 passengers plus driver and weighing less than 10,000 pounds GVWR. Driver seat belt and passenger restraining belts required to meet federal safety standards.

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