For the first time in my life, I'm a father of a kindergartner; and what comes with that is the morning school bus. As far as safety goes, Massachusetts is pretty progressive.

Let's take the COVID-19 pandemic for example, students in the bay state are still in masks, on the bus and in the classroom. So why is this widely used, for decades now, safety regulation not applicable in Massachusetts?

Students getting on school bus

Growing up, I distinctly remember my grandmother never wearing her seatbelt, my father, only sometimes. Call it "generational", call it whatever you want, but people just don't take those chances anymore. More and more people are, and have been, buckling up.

In the rare occasion I forget to, my truck dings and my children yell at me from the back seat, "Dad, put your seatbelt on!"

Young latin man sitting on car seat fastening seat belt

So, if you are driving students in some sort of van or station wagon that has 8 or less students, you and the students must buckle up; however, in Massachusetts, there is no law requiring seat belts on school buses.


Size, weight, and the seats. Buses weighing more than 10,000 pounds are exempt from seat belts.

It’s all in how school buses are designed. In fact, remember that term compartmentalization? It’s why school buses don’t have seat belts. “Through compartmentalization, children are protected from crashes by strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs,” the NHTSA added.

There are states, however, that require seat belts in school buses. Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas, according to

There have been petitions drawn up calling for the installation of seat belts for Massachusetts school buses, however, there has been no change to the law.

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