Q: Why aren’t buses equipped with seat belts?
Have you ever wondered why cars, trucks and even the local T&T Supermarket carts are equipped with seat belts, but they are not required on buses? Why do you suppose that is?
The answer depends on the type of bus in question.
School bus seats are elevated—sitting much higher than a passenger seat in a car or SUV. Because of this difference, the impact of a bus crash is not focused under the seat, as it is in a car crash. In a school bus, the impact of a crash causes a child to fall forward—not up and forward. School bus seats are designed with this difference in mind. Seats are packed closely together with padded backs, creating a makeshift air bag for the children behind them.
The close proximity of the seats, along with the extra padding, means that seat belts are not necessary.
City bus seats lack the proximity and padding that are standard features on a school bus. In fact, most city buses, like the Coast Mountain buses that operate in Vancouver, have seats that are both perpendicular and parallel to the sides of the bus. This seating configuration provides very little in the way of protection for passengers.
So why aren’t city buses equipped with seat belts? The simple answer is that it is cost prohibitive to retrofit city buses with seat belts. In addition, seat belts take up excess room on each seat, decreasing potential occupancy, thus decreasing profits.
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