Seat belts on school buses are not required equipment. School buses utilize the "compartmentalization" concept to insure student safety. Since the mid-70's the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that this approach to student safety is the most practical for school buses. Compartmentalization is an arrangement whereby seats are placed close together to absorb the energy of a child's body thrown against it. Additional padding, higher seat backs, frame construction, and anchoring requirements make compartmentalization the accepted industry standard.
Efforts are currently underway to revisit the seat belt issue on a national scale. Testing is currently being done to determine what the next generation of child restraints for school buses might be.
Under certain circumstances, seat belts are utilized in Special Education vehicles.