The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that seat belt use can increase a vehicle occupant’s chance of surviving a car crash by up to 60%. Despite this fact, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency responsible for setting the national standards for school bus safety, only requires passengers on school buses weighing less than 10,000 pounds to wear seat belts. School buses in excess of 10,000 pounds account for 80% of those transporting children. There are six states which have passed their own laws to require seat belts on all school buses: California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas.
There are 450,000 public schools across the nation which use buses to transport students. School buses travel more than four billion miles and transport 23.5 million children to school and school-related activities on an annual basis. One hundred seventy-four children lost their lives in crashes involving school transportation between the years 2003-2012. Fifty-five of these fatal school bus accidents were vehicle occupants and 119 were pedestrians.
The IMMI, one of the leading providers of seat belts for school buses, oversees the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation. They recently ran a test of seat belt effectiveness on school buses in various crash scenarios including head-on crashes and rollovers. To examine how well seat belts protect children, the testers belted only some of the crash test dummies. IMMI’s results show lap-shoulder seat belts can reduce school bus injury and death by 50%.
The National Transportation Safety Board is responsible for investigating school bus crashes. After its investigations of fatal school bus crashes in New Jersey and Florida in 2012, it deemed that properly worn lap-shoulder seat belts have a higher rate of injury reduction than lap belts only in severe side impact crashes. Having both a lap belt and shoulder belt offers passengers the best protection from injury. Although school buses are the safest mode of transportation for children, the NTSB believe that properly worn seat belts can make children even safer in the event of a school bus accident.
With these facts in mind, the NHTSA is currently reviewing its regulations on school bus safety. It is faced with some daunting financial figures. It will cost $3,000 to $8,000 to equip each bus with seat belts. This an expense of approximately $2.5 billion to outfit buses nationwide.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates Represent Victims of School Bus Accidents
Philadelphia car accident lawyers at the law offices of Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates have the skill and experience needed to obtain all entitled compensation for injured victims. We work tenaciously for the rights of victims injured in car accidents, truck accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle accidents and pedestrian accidents. To schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable car accident lawyers in Philadelphia, call our offices at 215-567-6600 or complete our online contact form. With our offices located in Philadelphia, PA and Voorhees, NJ, we serve clients throughout the Delaware Valley region.