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National Transportation Safety Board Advocates for Seat Belt Use in New School Buses

Thursday, August 16, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

School buses are generally a safe mode of transportation. By design, school buses are better equipped to avoid crashes and prevent injury to drivers and riders than passenger cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 2,000 children are killed in car crashes each year, while an average of 6 children die as a result of school bus collisions annually. Statistics show that students are 70 times more likely to arrive at school safely when riding a school bus than a car.

However, lapses in safety protocols for school buses has become a growing concern as several school bus accidents all over the country have led to deaths and serious injuries of both adults and children. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) weighed in on the national problem by making a recommendation last month that all new large school buses in the United States be equipped with lap and shoulder seat belts. The recommendations were approved as part of a plan to implement measures to improve school bus safety.

Deadly crashes in Baltimore, Chattanooga, and New Jersey spurred the NTSB recommendations. Seat belt improvements are a critical step in making buses as safe as possible. Indeed, the NTSB has recommended that seatbelts be improved in the past. In 2013, the NTSB put forth a measure to request that schools implement safer seat belts. Now the Board has concluded that seat belt improvements must be implemented.

The National Conference of State Legislatures indicates that several states already have passed laws that mandate the installation of seat belts on larger school buses, though they differ in their requirements. These include Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas. In other states, funding for seat belts on buses has not been allocated. New Jersey, Louisiana, Florida and New York have laws requiring the use of lap belts. The NTSB is now recommending that these states also pass laws to mandate shoulder belts on school buses. The NHTSA previously instituted a law in 2008 that required small buses to install lap-shoulder belts but did not extend this regulation to larger buses.

If you or a member of your family suffered injury or death as a result of negligence or a defective automobile, contact the attorneys Alexander Law Group, LLP. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and get you the maximum compensation that is possible. Call 888.777.1776 or contact us online.

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