Experts: School buses still safest way to transport students

Did you think twice before putting your child on the bus today after Wednesday's school bus crash?

The bus accident involving the Pembroke Hills students was scary for parents who are still settling into the new school year, but national and local transportation experts say long school buses are still the safest way to get your child to school.

Experts say the size, weight and color of the bus are part of the safety design. The weight of the 28-thousand pound vehicle is evenly distributed to help the professionally trained drivers stay in control.

School buses are also made with a steel frames and sit higher than other vehicles.

Keith Henry is the transportation director for the Independence School District.

"The height of the bus and the weight are part of the safety design," Henry added.

Henry says the 28-inch seat backs are fire resistant and are four inches higher than they were just three years ago which forms a protective cocoon for students even without seatbelts.

All of it works together to provide a cocoon of protection for riders.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration released a statement on Thursday regarding seatbelts on buses that read in part:

"NHTSA requires seat belts on small school buses and not on their larger counterparts. While mandating seat belts on large buses could save a number of lives annually, the costs would likely outweigh the benefits."

NHTSA does require seatbelts on the shorter buses but says long school buses without the seatbelts are the safest option for students.

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