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March 28, 1986

Seats on School Buses

Author Affiliations

Norfolk, Va

JAMA. 1986;255(12):1572. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370120046017

To the Editor.—  As a naval flight surgeon, trained in mishap survival investigation, I would like to offer some caveats regarding Dr Kaye's1 suggestion to turn school bus seats to face backward. Although rear-facing seats can reduce injury in a head-on collision, the increased forces generated at the seat's anchor points, because of the increased lever arm of the seat back, may cause failure at this point unless relatively expensive modifications are made to increase the strength of the attachment hardware and floor mounting points. Also, the height of the backs of existing seats would virtually ensure neck injury for many taller students; headrests would need to be added or seats with higher backs substituted.Because of their high center of gravity, buses are more apt to roll in a crash. Seats facing the rear offer little, if any, protection from injury in this case or in the event