After concerns were expressed that a new school transport service in its area was operating vehicles without seatbelts, Buckinghamshire County Council has issued a detailed statement explaining why not all school buses need seatbelts.

It also stressed that all services must be provided in a way that complies with the stringent national legislation that is in place for transport operators. All bus and coach companies use national Public Service Vehicle (PSV) standards, it pointed out, which are set and monitored by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

“We would like to reassure all parents and carers that the new commercially-provided school bus routes introduced this week are being run to the same safety standards as the routes that were previously commissioned by the county council,” a spokesman said. “With regard to seatbelts, legislation is in place which determines which vehicles must have seatbelts fitted.”

He explained that vehicles built for public bus routes are designed for the carriage of wheelchairs and buggies and also for safe standing. These have their speed limited and will not have seatbelts fitted.

On the other hand, coaches and minibuses do not have limited speeds and are designed to be able to travel long distances at high speeds on motorways and for this reason these must have seatbelts fitted.

It is usual practice across the country to use a mix of buses and coaches as part of our home to school transport provision, the council statement went on.

“In order to ensure appropriate protection is in place,” the spokesman concluded, “all our commercial bus operators have voluntarily committed to maintaining the same standards for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults as we have in place and we are regularly monitoring the new services to ensure all operators comply with this.”

Last reviewed 22 November 2019