Federal officials are taking steps to keep students better protected on the bus on their way to and from school.
The new recommendations come just a week after most school districts voted on school budgets, many of which included funds to purchase new school buses.
The Shenendehowa Central School district is looking to replace 19 of their buses. Bethlehem proposed to replace 15, East Greenbush 9, Niskayuna 6, and Scotia-Glenville five.
If districts follow the new NTSB guidelines, those replacements could get more expensive. But the board says the changes would be worth it.
The NTSB is recommending that all new large school buses be equipped with both over-the-lap and over-the-shoulder seatbelts.
The agency chairman says they previously tiptoed around the issue, but it’s now time to take a hard stance.
Here in New York, buses are already equipped with lap belts, but the new recommendations would mean adding additional over-the-shoulder belts, as well as electronic stability control to reduce skidding.
The NTSB says school buses are the safest vehicles on the road. According to NTSB statistics, children are 70 times more likely to get to school safely on a bus than in a car with their parents.
Typically, bus seats are made with energy-absorbing, padded back seats secured to the floor, so students are protected within the seating compartment like eggs in a carton.
Still, the NTSB says they have investigated a number of side-impact crashes or high-speed rollovers where the current safety features were not sufficient, and where the three-point seatbelt could have lessened injuries or even saved lives.