AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s back-to-school season in western Massachusetts which means students will be riding the bus again.

School buses are some of the most highly regulated vehicles on the road and have a pretty clean track record for safety thanks to their design and the careful work of the country’s more than 300,000 drivers.

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association, less than one percent of all traffic fatalities involve children on school transportation vehicles.

Full-size buses are designed to protect their riders, two of the most effective safety features go no deeper than their size and color. Big and yellow are key, making them impossible to miss on the roads. Next, their sheer mass is enough to dissipate the force of almost any traffic crash without disturbing the precious cargo.

Their mass plus the compact and cushy design of the seats keeps kids in place in the result of a rare crash. That’s why you don’t find seatbelts on big buses. In Massachusetts, school transportation vehicles under 10,000 pounds must have seatbelts because they aren’t as big or yellow.

Then there are the safety features like the flashing lights, stop sign, and spacing arm at the front. Ultimately kids are far more at risk for injury as they get on and off the bus.

Local News

WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in March 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Duncan MacLean is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2019. Follow Duncan on X @DMacLeanWWLP and view his bio to see more of his work.