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Why Don’t School Buses Have Seat Belts?

Northglenn Bus Accident Attorneys

Every year in the United States 25 million children are transported 4.3 billion miles on approximately 450,000 public school buses. However, only about one-fifth of the children traveling on those buses wear seat belts while on board.

Many people question why seat belts aren’t required on all public school buses. The truth is, several reasons factor into this decision, including accident rates, cost of installation, as well as children’s willingness to wear the safety restraints. Yet, many parents wonder – is it safe? What happens if my child is involved in an accident? Will my child be injured because there is no seat belt?

While most U.S. school buses do not have seat belts, six states do have safety restraint requirements. California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas all require seat belts on the standard long yellow school buses, which represent approximately 80% of all school buses used.

Smaller buses- those weighing in under 10,000 pounds- that typically seat 6 to 12 students, are required by federal law to have seat belts because of their size. In an accident, these smaller buses would perform similarly to a passenger vehicle due to their reduced weight and lower center of gravity.

Other reasons the majority of school buses don’t have seat belts include:

  • Contemporary school buses are designed to prevent injuries. The tall seats are spaced closely to compartmentalize riders in a passive restraint system by preventing them from being tossed around the bus. Additionally, seats are covered with four inches of safety foam to cushion passengers and absorb the crash impact.
  • The sheer size and weight of a fully loaded school bus makes it less susceptible to crash damage than its greatest threat on the road- collision with another vehicle. A 40,000-pound school bus can weigh more than ten times more than an average car.
  • It would not be cost effective to install seat belts on every bus. A University of Alabama study discovered that installing seat belts would be inconsequential in terms of safety but cost as much as $15,000 per school bus. The tax payers in each state would pay $117 million dollars for seat belts, even if they were phased in over a ten-year period.
  • It is unlikely the children would use the belts correctly, or at all. The Texas state legislature was considering mandating stricter seat belt laws when a related study concluded that expecting bus drivers to monitor and enforce the seat belt regulations would distract them from safely operating the bus.
  • School buses are safe. In fact, the National Safety Council concluded that children are 40 times safer riding on the school bus than being transported in the family car. If a school bus full of children is involved in a collision, rarely is a child injured. More kids are hurt walking to the bus stop, or by some environmental factor while unloading.

Even though children are statistically less likely to be injured on a school bus – that does not mean that accidents and injuries do not occur. Take these recent horrific school bus accidents. Earlier this month, a school bus plunged off of an overpass in Houston. The accident resulted in 2 student deaths and serious injuries to at least 3 other students. A school bus accident in Kentucky earlier this month resulted in 8 people being sent to the hospital.

Further Reading: The Top 10 Biggest Mistakes Made in Personal Injury Claims

If your child is injured in a school bus accident, it can be difficult to know who is to blame. There may be multiple parties to blame for the accident – including the bus driver, the driver of the other vehicle, and even the city or county responsible for maintaining the roads and guardrails. When this occurs, it is absolutely necessary to seek legal representation.

Contact Our Experienced Northglenn Bus Accident Lawyers

The Northglenn Bus Accident Attorneys at Hull & ZimmermanIf you or your child have been injured in a bus accident in Broomfield, Northglenn, Westminster, Thornton, or anywhere in Colorado, it is important to contact our experienced Northglenn bus accident attorneys immediately. At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., our committed injury accident lawyers are dedicated to the belief that everyone deserves justice. Contact us at (303) 423-1770 or (866) 385-3505.

Our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured accident victims in Broomfield, Arvada, Superior, Lafayette, Louisville, Erie, Brighton, Commerce City, Northglenn, Westminster, Thornton, Longmont, and throughout Colorado.

 

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At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., we are honored to help accident victims in their time of need, and take our responsibility as personal injury lawyers incredibly seriously. We know how important it is for victims to secure the full and fair compensation they need following a serious accident, and that is why we take a hands-on, personalized approach to every case we handle.

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