The administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a change in its stance regarding seat belts on school buses this past November. Agency head Mark Rosekind said that the agency’s position is that seat belts save lives. From there, he said that “NHTSA’s policy is that every child on every school bus should have a three-point seat belt.”
Rosekind said that the agency would initiate several research projects to focus on seat belts in buses. One project will be a study of seat belt use in states where they are currently required. This will focus partly on whether a seat belt prevents or reduces injury in a crash. It will also look at safety risks from bus drivers being distracted by students.
Another area of focus will be cost. One of the biggest reasons some people give for not having seatbelts on school buses is the cost of installation. The NHTSA will look into ways to help states overcome that financial burden.
Rosekind stopped short of saying that the agency would use the federal rules to require seat belts in buses. States don’t like federal agencies telling them what to do without providing money to do it.
Even with the discussion of seat belts dominating Rosekind’s speech, he pointed out that school bus transportation is already the safest way for students to go to school. More children die each year in private vehicle wrecks than in school bus accidents. He also talked about speeding in school zones and drivers failing to stop for school buses loading and unloading.
Rosekind noted that his agency had done much research into using automated cameras in school zones. It is also researching using cameras on buses to identify car drivers who fail to obey the stop arms and flashing lights of a stopped school bus.
The safety of school children in transit should be of the utmost concern of people, whether they have children or not. Sadly, some people just don’t behave that way.
If you or a family member have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to money damages. We know Louisiana laws applicable to accidents inside and out. We will work to get you a fair result. For a free evaluation, contact the experienced lawyers at Wright Pichon & Gray.