Despite convincing evidence that seat belts provide no additional safety for passengers riding on school and commercial buses, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will push forward a plan to require all new buses to come equipped with seat belts.
The plan will cost an additional $25m annually. The NHTSA says the plan may save up to 8 lives a year.
Ironically, the government’s own safety regulators had nixed similar plans in the passed due to overwhelming evidence that seat belts provide very little benefit to passengers of buses, which are already built under strict safety standards. More ironically, the NHTSA also refuted assumptions that seat belts improve safety just a short time ago. They argued that there is no guarantee that passengers will use the seat belts, and improper use of the belts may increase the risk of injuries. Further, more children get killed around school buses than in them, according to the NHTSA, and there is concern that some kids may use belts as weapons to choke other passengers.
Despite the NHTSA’s own findings, the government is moving forward with additional seat belt regulations. The new law will not require current commercial buses to install seat belts, only new buses. Buses equipped with seat belts typically run an additional $13,000 a piece. Many fear poorer school districts will avoid buying newer buses and instead stick with older models, which may be more dangerous due to their age and mechanical wear.
The government seems steadfastly focused on spending money and implementing piles of legislation, each year, that amount to very little benefit, if any. Useless seat belt regulations are another example of the government practically falling over itself, even after its own transportation safety board recommended otherwise, to waste taxpayer money.