NHTSA Rejects Call for National School Bus Seatbelt Law

Posted on August 30, 2011

News sources reported that the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a rejected a petition from the Center for Auto Safety and the National Coalition for School Bus Safety that called for national mandate to install seatbelts on all school buses.

According to the Coalition, approximately 500,000 public school buses will carry children around 4.2 billion miles this school year without seatbelts.

The National Coalition for School Bus Safety’s Arthur Yeager said, “It just confirms the long history of NHTSA in opposition to child restraints in school buses. There is a certain hypocrisy in their supporting seat belts in virtually every other type of vehicle under their control except for school buses… From their first ride home from the hospital, they have been secured by a restraining device. The very first time kids ever experience a ride without a seat belt is when they get on the school buses.

The NHTSA Deputy Director Ronald Medford responded by saying, “We care deeply about schoolchildren and feel that the steps we’ve taken are in the best interests of safety.”

The federal agency’s analysis found that school buses are among the safest modes of transportation and that the financial cost of installing the safety belts would far outweigh the benefits. Smaller school buses are already required to have safety belts, among other restrictions to ensure safety.

The NHTSA also stated that each individual school district would be held responsible for ensuring that students wore the safety belts. Even if the effort was placed in the hands of local law enforcement, it would be difficult for them to see who was and was not wearing their seat belts from a lower elevation.

Only California and Texas require that all students wear seat belts on school buses.

As a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, I know that our children’s safety is at the forefront of every community’s efforts. As a reader, do you feel that adding seat belts to every school bus would aid safety or hinder the ability of the school bus to function efficiently? If you’ve been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact a Los Angeles bus accident lawyer to learn more about your rights.

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