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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
All federal motor vehicle safety standards are located in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Volume 49, Part 571. For a brief description of each federal motor vehicle safety standard, click here.

School Bus Crashworthiness Research - October 2002. Also available in .PDF version. (posted 05-07-03)
The record is impressive: American students are nearly eight times safer riding to school in a school bus than with their own parents or caregivers in cars. In the late 1990s, Congress requested that DOT investigate the safety value of installing safety belts on our nation's school buses. A school bus crashworthiness research report by NHTSA concluded that lap belts appear to have little, if any, benefit in reducing serious-to-fatal injuries in severe frontal crashes. On the contrary, lap belts could increase the incidence of serious neck injuries and possibly abdominal injury among young passengers in severe frontal crashes. The use of lap/shoulder belts could provide some benefit, unless misused. NHTSA's testing showed that serious neck injury and perhaps abdominal injury could result when lap/shoulder belts are misused. Other considerations, such as increased capital costs and reduced seating capacities that installing lap/shoulder belts would require, could also have serious unintended consequences: more children seeking alternative means of travel to school. Given that school buses are the safest way to and from school, even the smallest reduction in the number of bus riders could result in more children being killed or injured when using alternative forms of transportation.

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Highway Special Investigation Report: Pupil Transportation In Vehicles Not Meeting Federal Schoolbus Standards PDF version
This report, published by the National Transportation Safety Board, contains findings of a special investigation conducted as a result of four fatal crashes involving nonconforming buses used to transport children.

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NHTSA Interpretation File
An interpretation letter issued by NHTSA's Office of Chief Counsel regarding the use of 12-15 passenger vans by child day care providers. It addresses questions focusing on federal motor vehicle safety regulations relating to the sale and lease of school buses.

Number of Persons That Can Safely Sit on a School Bus Seat
Federal regulation does not specify the number of persons that can sit on a school bus seat. The school bus manufacturers determine the maximum seating capacity of a school bus. This document contains NHTSA's recommendation that all passengers be seated entirely within the confines of the school bus seat while the bus is in motion, and explains why.

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Use Of Nonconforming Vehicles For School Transportation
This publication discusses the Federal requirements that regulate the manufacture and original sale or lease of new vehicles that carry 11 or more persons that are sold for transporting students to or from school or school-related events.

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