Transportation

Why Are School Buses Yellow, And Why Do They Lack Seatbelts?

There's no mistaking a school bus for any other kind of transportation. The iconic yellow color is actually officially named,"national school bus chrome yellow." The reason for the bright yellow color is simple: safety. People notice the bright shade sooner than they would any other color.

'Round And 'Round

But if safety is the first concern, why do so many buses lack seat belts? School buses that weigh less than 10,000 pounds are required to have seat belts, but all others aren't. This may seem strange when considering a fast-moving vehicle filled to the brim with young children, but there are logical reasons for this. School buses are heavy and enormous. And passengers sit very high off the ground. The National Safety Council says they're about 40 times safer than the family car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says six children a year die in school bus accidents. Walking, biking or riding in standard cars is far more dangerous.

What's more, seat belts don't come cheap. Installing them would add $8,000 to $15,000 to the cost of a new bus while adding virtually no safety benefit. If your state wanted to add them, you'd have to come up with $117 million. Good luck getting your legislators to cough up that much.

The massive padded seats provide a fair amount of protection as well. In the event of a crash, passengers would fly into the padding right in front of them. It's not an air bag, but it's decent.

Why are School Buses Yellow?

Find out more about where the iconic color came from.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The first school buses were horse-drawn carriages known as school hacks. 00:30

  2. The color yellow was chosen for school buses because of its attention-grabbing qualities. 02:23

  3. School buses don't have seat belts mainly due to cost, but also because they do not necessarily increase safety for kids. 03:57

What's So Special About Number 2 Pencils?

And why are the necessary for all standardized testing?

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. In 1931, a high school physics teacher created the first machine to automatically detect test answers. 00:33

  2. Pencils are graded by the hardness of the graphite, which corresponds to the darkness of the shading. 01:34

  3. These days, most machines could detect pencil marks of any shade, regardless of the pencil grade. 01:57

5 Facts About School

School wasn't always out for summer.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The Flynn effect refers to the increase in IQ with each generation. 00:29

  2. Sir Isaac Pitman established the first distance learning course in the 1840s, when he sent shorthand assignment postcards to students and corrected the answers they mailed back. 01:38

  3. One kindergarten in Switzerland is set entirely outdoors, and covers wilderness survival techniques in addition to standard lessons. 02:09

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