Seat Belts on Buses Debate
Author: Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP
Compared to car accidents, bus accidents are relatively rare, but do occur. The debate over whether buses should have seat belts has been ongoing for years. In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed that new commercial buses be equipped with seat belts, specifically those used as charter buses and not necessarily for metropolitan transit.
However, NHTSA did not include all school buses in this proposal and still considers most school buses without seat belts to be far safer than other transportation means for children going to and from school.
This NHTSA ruling bases the evaluation on statistics that indicate school bus accidents are very infrequent. NHTSA leaves the issue of seat belts on school buses up to individual states to decide.
Some states beg to differ with the NHTSA conclusion that most school buses do not need seat belts. New York was the first state to pass a law requiring seat belts on school buses. Five other states followed New York’s lead, including California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Texas. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required school buses weighing less than 10,000 pounds to have seat belts, the majority of the nation’s school buses, some estimate 80%, are outside this category.
Attorneys who handle accident cases have in-depth knowledge of how government regulations, traffic laws, and product liability laws apply to an accident case. If injured in a bus or some other type of motor vehicle accident, a Suffolk County accident lawyer can evaluate whether negligence was a factor and explain your rights to pursue compensation.