How Safe Are School Bus Seats?

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

On Nov. 27, 2006, afternoon, a car carrying two passengers hit an empty school bus driving on Kentucky 181. Both the car and the bus caught on fire.

Not only did the exterior of the bus burn, but its insides were charred as well, leaving many wondering what would have happened if their were children on the bus.

Everything in the bus burned...even the seats.

Back in the late 80s, the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Board of Education developed the specifications to make sure that something like this would never happen. To view those specifications click here.

"Those specifications include that school buses must have flame-retardant seats. That's one of a package of requirements that were put in place after the 1988 Carollton bus crash," said Lisa Gross of the Kentucky Department of Education.

The state-wide regulation says that no matter what, every new school bus purchased must have these seats.

"Every school district whether they have buses that were purchased from one manufacturer or another should be using those specifications to ensure that their buses meet those requirements," Gross said.

However, those specifications might not be all that defined.

"The regulation that governs the specification just notes the seats must be flame retardant. It does not get into detail as to the specific makeup of that seat in the school bus," she said.

Gross also said she can't recall of any other incident where a Kentucky school bus completely burned. She also went on to say that members of the board are consistently updating measures aimed at keeping your children safe.

"The regulations get amended fairly frequently. Every three or four years because the technology for school buses changes pretty rapidly."

An investigation into the fire is ongoing.

Gross said its too early to tell what if any affect the Todd County incident will have on the current form of the regulation.


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