When parents put their children on a bus each day, they don't expect them to be involved in an accident. However, the reality is that accidents happen, and buses can be involved. We have heard many stories this year about how drivers have been inattentive and not mindful of traffic laws. With that, children on school buses have been put in harm's way.
Apparently federal regulators want to take steps to make sure that kids are safer in the event a crash. According to a recent ABC News.com report, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to make a push for new regulations that will call for seatbelts in school buses. Currently only six states, California, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York have passed laws calling for seatbelts on school buses.
The safety benefits are obvious. In a crash, unbelted children run the risk of being tossed about in the bus, which could lead to additional injuries and the potential of being ejected from the vehicle. With seatbelts installed, that risk will be reduced considerably.
While seatbelts are indeed a good idea, finding funding to retrofit the nearly 500,000 school buses across the nation may not be so easy. With the cost of putting seatbelts estimated at $7000 to $10,000 per bus, the overall cost could be billions.
In the meantime, school bus drivers have a duty to use reasonable care while behind the wheel. If they fail to use such care and the failure is the cause of an accident, the driver could be held liable. If you have questions about your rights and options after a crash, an experienced personal injury attorney can help.