Seatbelts on School Buses in Texas- Not Quite
Written by Greg on March 12, 2012
Yet another school bus accident on the east coast has claimed at least one child’s life and gravely injured two more. The accident itself is still under investigation but what is known is that there was a collision between a dump truck and a bus. The question is – could the death and injuries have been avoided if there were seat belts on the bus? What are the arguments for and against seat belts on school buses?
The reasons for not installing seatbelts on school buses are obvious. First, it would be an additional expense to the manufacturer which would be passed on to the school districts when they are purchased. Second, it would further limit the number of children who could be seated in each ‘compartment’. Anyone who has ever ridden a school bus knows that three and sometimes four kids pack themselves into a seat – that’s part of the bus riding experience. The installation of belts would severely limit the number of children per seat.
Meanwhile, a number of studies have failed to authentically reveal the crashworthiness of buses and subsequent injury to riders in the case of a side impact crash – which occurs in seven out of ten impacts. Both side-impact and rollover crashes could throw a child (this seems less likely in frontal crashes according to the statistics) and that is what causes injury and death.
If there was ever a cause to get behind – it’s putting seatbelts on school buses. Even if they only save a handful of children each year – they’re worth it.
Texas recently passed a law requiring seatbelts in some buses however, it was not adequately funded and has largely not met expectations for that reason. Additionally, schools the have a program to monitor seatbelt use get priority. It is hard for me to see how a bus driver with 50 kids can both drive and monitor adequately seatbelt use.
Greg Baumgartner is a wrongful death attorney and the founder of the Baumgartner law firm, which is dedicated to helping personal injury victims seek civil justice. If you would like to speak with an accident attorney call the Baumgartner firm.