A school bus should always be purchased to meet the needs of
your current and projected passenger population.
Unfortunately, projecting future needs is difficult and the
unpredictable often happens. In such instances, you may find
yourself needing to retrofit your large school bus with an
anchorage system and lap belts.
To add lap belts to a large school bus it is necessary to
have seats that are reinforced and designed for use with lap
belts. These seats, called lap-belt-ready seats,
are the only seats capable of being retrofitted properly with
lap belts. If there is any chance you may need to add an
anchorage system to your school bus seats in the future, you
should prepare now by ordering lap-belt-ready
If you are facing the possibility of retrofitting lap belts
on a large school bus already in your fleet, it is vital to
the safety of the students that the retrofitting is done
correctly. The following steps must be taken to retrofit lap
belts on large school buses correctly:
First, and most important, contact the distributor from
whom the bus was purchased. If the distributor is no
longer in business, contact any distributor of that school
bus, or if necessary, contact the manufacturer directly.
Only the distributor or manufacturer can determine if it
is possible to retrofit lap belts on a school bus safely.
If lap belts can be retrofitted, it must be done according
to the manufacturers recommendations.
To determine if the bus is equipped with
lap-belt-ready seats, the school bus
distributor will need the manufacturers school bus
body number, which is located on the manufacturers
label posted on the school bus. If the bus is not equipped
with lap-belt-ready seats, each seat that
needs to be equipped with lap belts will have to be
replaced with a lap-belt-ready seat. The
school bus distributor may also be able to provide you
with written instructions on how to install the lap belts
- All equipment that you add or replace on a school bus should be purchased from a reputable dealer or manufacturer. If you retrofit a school bus with lap belts, NHTSA recommends that you ensure that all anchorages meet the requirements in FMVSS No. 210. Further, all lap belts must meet the requirements in FMVSS No. 209. An easy way to determine if a lap belt meets these requirements is by looking for its certification label. If it is a lap belt designed for motor vehicle use, the certification label will state that it meets all the requirements specified in FMVSS No. 209.
It is important to remember not all school buses can be
retrofitted safely with lap belts. Also, federal law does
not allow school bus manufacturers or distributors to
certify that equipment retrofitted on a vehicle meets
Some states have regulations governing the retrofitting of
occupant protection systems on school buses. Be sure to
contact the agency in your state that regulates motor
vehicles to determine all applicable regulations before
you start any retrofitting project.
Currently, manufacturers of school buses do not offer
retrofitting of universal attachment systems into existing
equipment. However, to find out if it will be possible to
retrofit a particular model of school bus with the new
universal attachment system, contact the school bus
manufacturers distributor nearest you. It is
recommended that all anchorages meet the requirements
specified in FMVSS 225.