Bus accidents in which children are injured on school buses are, unfortunately, rather common. Currently there are no federal rules requiring children to wear seat belts on school buses. Only six states voluntarily require school buses to be equipped with passenger seat belts: New York, California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Texas. Installing seatbelts on buses would cost between roughly $7,000 and $10,000 per bus.
A recent tragedy in Tennessee, and a similar accident in California, highlight the difference that seat belts in school buses can make. In Tennessee, a 24-year-old school bus driver was charged with vehicular homicide after the bus he was driving hit a tree, splitting apart. Five children were fatally injured in the bus accident. A similar accident occurred in Anaheim, California in 2014, only the children were wearing seatbelts. There were no fatalities. The bus slammed into a pole and trees, splitting apart. In both crashes, the buses turned onto their sides. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the proper use of seat belts by the students in California reduced the severity of their injuries.
Why Are Seat Belts Not Required?
So why does the federal government not require all school buses to be equipped with seat belts? Not only has the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended the installation of seatbelts on newly manufactured school buses, but also the National Safety Council.
Some in the busing industry claim that school bus fatalities are rare, because buses are already safe—and the addition of seatbelts can be costly. Only about four children and teens are fatally injured each year riding school buses, researchers say. They assert that the communities responsible for bearing these costs would have to pull money from somewhere else in the budget, for example, laying off crossing guards—which may pose an even greater danger.
In 2011, the Department of Transportation decided not to pursue a proposed rule requiring the installation of three-point seat belts on all school buses across the country. Critics claim there are better ways to allocate the funds to improve the safety of children in our communities.
Delaware County Bus Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Seek Justice for Victims of Bus Accidents
Although fatal school bus accidents are rare, they do occur. And accidents involving school buses that result in injury and property damage are commonplace. If you or someone you love has been injured in a bus or any other type of motor vehicle accident, the trusted Delaware County bus accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help you find answers and hold the responsible parties accountable. Call our Philadelphia offices at 215-569-8488 or complete our online contact form today. We represent victims of bus accidents throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.