Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers Discuss School Bus SafetyMarch 10, 2017
There is an overwhelming amount of research that proves how effective seat belts are at saving lives in the event of a car accident. However, while most buses do come equipped with seat belts, there are no laws requiring children to wear them. Although the incidence of fatal school bus accidents are rare, most people would agree that the death of one child is one too many. Experts say the issue comes down to cost, and some believe that the cost of installing seat belts is prohibitive, arguing school buses are already considered to be safe.
This issue received national attention in November of 2016 when a school bus in Chattanooga, Tennessee smashed into a tree, fatally injuring five children. None of the children were restrained by a seat belt as the bus did not come equipped with them. A similar accident occurred in Anaheim, California in 2014 wherein a school bus hit a light pole and some trees, resulting in it being split open on one side. However, all the children on that bus were seat belted. Not only were there no fatalities, but the seat belts also reduced the severity of their injuries.
Financial Costs of Seat Belts on School Buses
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Safety Council have strongly recommended that all newly manufactured buses come equipped with passenger seat belts. According to the president and CEO of the National Safety Council, it is one of the most important safety steps we can take, regardless of how safe school buses already are. If we can make them even safer, it is our responsibility to do so.
Other experts feel that the money could be better spent on additional measures, particularly in communities where funding is limited. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates the average incremental cost to install seat belts in a school bus is between $7,346 and $10,296. Communities that are less affluent may choose to allocate their limited resources towards areas they believe to be more of a priority, such as paying for crossing guards. In 2011, the Department of Transportation decided against moving forward with its proposed rule that would require three-point seat belts on all school buses.
The former director of the regulatory studies program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University commented that school bus safety should not be limited to just seat belts. It is just as important to ensure that all school bus drivers are properly screened and that they are received adequate training.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of School Bus Accidents
If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, contact the reputable Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. If your child’s health and safety was jeopardized in any way, we will hold the negligent parties responsible for their actions and pursue the maximum financial compensation for your pain and suffering. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.