Accidents on school buses can leave passengers injured or, in worst case scenarios, can result in the loss of life. Young children aboard buses are especially vulnerable to sustaining injuries from crashes. Unfortunately, many of these children are left unprotected because the bus they are on does not have a seatbelt. If a child is injured or killed because of a crash, a Naples accident attorney can provide assistance to the victim and his or her family in making a case for monetary compensation.
Preventing accidents and reducing injuries should always be a top goal, and the Daily Progressreports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has now made clear that the agency is an advocate of requiring the installation of seatbelts on every bus. In the past, the NHTSA’s position was not always clear, but the new agency leader aimed to resolve ambiguities and unequivocally supports seatbelt use.
Why Seatbelts May Help Save Kids’ Lives
The new NHTSA leader, Mark Rosekid, made a statement to the National Association for Pupil Transportation saying he was aware the agency hadn’t always spoken with a clear voice, and making clear that the NHTSA was now behind the position that “every child on every school bus should have a three-point seatbelt.”
A three-point belt goes across the lap of the child, as well as the shoulders of the child. While Rosekid recognizes that the unequivocal support of the use of seatbelts on buses is a change in position from the NHTSA’s previous stance on this issue, he believes that seatbelts have become an icon of safety and that the absence of belts on buses is a “gaping obvious hole in our safety measures.”
The cost of installing three-point seatbelts in every bus would be around $7,000 to $10,000. Buses currently operate without the belts and usually cost between $80,000 and $100,000, so the investment in the belts is a relatively small expense compared to the overall cost of a new bus purchase. Retrofitting existing buses would be costlier, with an estimated price of $20,000 to add belts to existing buses. The total cost nationwide for retrofitting buses with belts would be approximately $2.34 million.
While the expense is not insignificant, seatbelts unquestionably safe lives. Everyday Health indicates more than 15,000 people survive motor vehicle accidents each year because they are wearing seatbelts when otherwise the crash might have been deadly. Seatbelts provide five-way protection by keeping occupants inside of the vehicle; restraining the strongest parts of the occupant’s body; spreading out the force of the collision; slowing down the body; and protecting both the brain and the spinal cord.
Since there may not be seatbelts in every bus soon due to the expense, it remains especially important for proper safety protocols to be followed when transporting school children on buses. If an accident does occur, victims and their families must understand their rights and should strongly consider pursuing a case for compensation for losses. Contact Attorney Ryan Kuhl for help with your case.