Safety belts are one of the single most important technologies in terms of saving lives. The simple seat belt saves more than 15,000 people each year from death in motor vehicle crashes, according toEveryday Health. Yet, despite the importance of the seatbelt in restraining the strongest parts of the body, ensuring vehicle occupants don’t fly out of vehicles, slowing down the motion of the body, spreading the collision’s force, and protecting the spinal cord and brain, seat belts are not found in every vehicle. In fact, seat belts are not found in one of the vehicles where they are needed most to protect vulnerable children: school buses.
When children or adults are in a bus crash, there is a good chance they will be unbuckled because most buses do not have safety belts at every seat. This can create a significantly greater risk of death or permanent injury after a collision occurs on a school bus. Victims need to know their rights, and an Atlanta bus accident lawyer should be consulted after the collision to pursue a claim for compensation. Bus passengers are never responsible for a collision occurring, so someone should always be held accountable, whether it is the driver, the school district, or another motorist who caused a crash.
Regardless of who is at fault, if school buses were equipped with safety belts, there would be far fewer cases in which victims sustain permanent life-changing injuries and significant financial losses. The importance of safety belts for child safety are one key reason why the new leader of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has now come out in favor of adding seat belts to every school bus.
Seat Belts on School Buses Could Prevent Child Injuries in Atlanta Collisions
Daily Progress reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not previously made its position clear on whether it should be a requirement for seat belts to be installed on all school buses. The new leader, however, has now come out and said the Administration is in favor of a mandate for safety belt installation. Mark Rosekid, who now heads up NHTSA, spoke to the National Association for Pupil Transportation, acknowledging that NHTSA had not always been clear on its position in the past but indicating the agency’s official stance is now to impose a requirement for every child to have a three-point seat belt on all school buses.
Three point safety belts cross over a child’s lab and shoulder. Installing these belts in every new bus would cost an estimated $7,000 to $10,000, which is a small amount of additional money since buses cost anywhere from $80,000 to $100,000. Retrofitting existing buses, however, would be a more costly proposition with a price tag of $20,000. Nationwide, this means the cost to add belts to all buses currently transporting children would come in at around $2.34 million.
While this cost is high, children are currently losing their lives in school bus accidents when fatalities could be prevented if seat belts were installed. Unless and until safety belts are put into every bus, it is even more important for drivers to exercise reasonable caution when operating a bus or driving close to a bus on the roads. Drivers who make dangerous mistakes must be held accountable for harm they cause to children and their families.
The Atlanta bus accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after a collision occurs. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.