Countless kids are injured while riding aboard school buses in the U.S. each year. Fortunately, the number of those hurt in Texas has dropped in recent years. This has happened in large part due to the passing of a state law that requires all large school buses to be equipped with seat belts.
Yet, accidents still happen. While they can curb injury rates, the seat belts have to be worn correctly to be effective in preventing injuries.
A study recently conducted by the NBC at an engineering facility in Indiana revealed just how dangerous not wearing a seat belt can be. They simulated a collision in which some of the child-sized crash dummies were buckled in whereas others weren’t.
At least three out of seven of the unbuckled dummies were sent flying out of their seats when their school bus traveled 35 miles per hour down a highway ramp. One of those three dummies ended up colliding with another passenger. Another one of them flew into the aisle and rammed its neck into another seat. All the belted dummies remained securely in their seats.
Federal lawmakers have yet to pass legislation that would require all states to equip their school buses with seat belts. They’ve generally cited the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research when asked why they haven’t passed such legislation. The NHTSA contends that school bus seat belts are unnecessary as their seats provide compartmentalization. They noted that this is all that’s necessary to keep them safe.
A senator from Illinois who just this year proposed the School Bus Safety Act argues that all school buses should come equipped with automatic braking systems and data recorders. She notes that they should also feature three-point seat belts as well.
Parents might expect that their children’s school districts will do what’s in the kids’ best interests. But this isn’t always the case, as school districts may cut corners. They cram more kids in buses than they should and then leave a single driver to monitor them. In Texas, they may have delayed installing required seat belts as well.
Seat belts can save your child from getting hurt. If their caregiver’s or some other motorist’s negligence resulted in them getting hurt in a crash, parents can reach out to a personal injury attorney who can advise how administrative law and due process works here in Texas.