SEATING CAPACITY on SCHOOL BUSES
The Number of Persons That Can Safely Sit on a
School Bus Seat
Federal regulations do not specify the number of persons that can sit on a
school bus seat. The school bus manufacturers determine the maximum seating
capacity of a school bus. The manufacturers use this number, which is based on
sitting three small elementary school age persons per typical 39 inch school bus
seat, in the calculations for determining the gross vehicle weight rating and
the number of emergency exits. School transportation providers generally
determine the number of persons that they can safely fit into a school bus seat.
Generally they fit three smaller elementary school age persons or two adult high
school age persons into a typical 39 inch school bus seat.
(Note: Space will be reduced when transporting additional items such as
instruments, ice chests, luggage, etc.)
NHTSA recommends that all passengers be seated entirely within the confines of the
school bus seats while the bus is in motion. Federal motor vehicle safety
standard No. 222, "School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection"
requires that the interior of large buses provide occupant protection so that
children are protected without the need to buckle-up. Occupant crash protection
is provided by a protective envelope consisting of strong, closely-spaced seats
that have energy-absorbing seat backs. Persons not sitting or sitting partially
outside of the school bus seats will not be afforded the occupant protection
provided by the school bus seats