The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has recommended that school buses include seatbelts. Unfortunately, this recommendation is not mandatory and Pennsylvania has yet to follow in the footsteps of other states like Florida, Texas, California, New York, New Jersey, and Louisiana, which require seatbelts on school buses. If Pennsylvania had required seatbelts on school buses, 23 children and adults may have avoided injuries the other day.
Every car must have seatbelts but not every bus. The NTSB has stated that compartmentalization on buses, meaning strong heavily padded seats that are placed closely together, provides protection for front and rear-end collisions by absorbing energy during a crash. This does not take rollovers into account, which can be a common occurrence. Nor does it take into account the possibility of a side impact.
Stronger regulations are needed to protect occupants from injuries involving rollover accidents and side impacts on buses. The compartmentalization argument basically says that passengers will be protected from one type of accident but not another, arguably more severe, type of accident. Little sense can be made from that argument.