Student Well-Being

More Than 50,000 School Buses to Be Recalled for Safety Concerns

By Arianna Prothero — November 07, 2019 1 min read
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a recall that could impact nearly 54,000 school buses.

That’s 11 percent of the 480,000 school buses on the road nationally.

The recall is due to seatbacks that don’t have enough padding to meet federal safety standards, increasing the risk of students getting injured in a crash.

Seat padding is an important part of protecting kids in school bus accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school bus passengers are protected from the impacts of crashes by strong, closely-spaced seats with energy-absorbing seatbacks. This design, says the NHTSA, is part of what allows kids to safely ride in buses without wearing seatbelts—that and the fact that large school buses distribute the force from a crash differently than passenger cars do.

But there is hardly universal agreement on whether school buses should be equipped with seatbelts. The National Transportation Safety Board, a federal agency that investigates crashes, recommended in 2018 that all new large school buses come outfitted with both lap and shoulder belts.

However, statistics show that children are still safer riding to school on a bus than with a parent. More than 25 million children ride school buses every day across the country, while accidents claim only four to six lives a year.

The recall affects Thomas Built Buses from the years 2014 through 2020. The parent company, Daimler Trucks North America, reported the issue to NHTSA and will be notifying owners and dealers of the recall. The company will fix the issue by adding additional padding, according to the NHTSA.

Districts that own buses that may be affected by the recall can contact Daimler Trucks’ at 1-800-547-0712 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to

The recall is expected to begin on December 2, according to the NHTSA.

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Image credit: Getty

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.