A string of school bus crashes across the U.S. have led safety advocates to question what risks are posed to school bus riders without seat belt restraints.
New York – Several students were injured in a recent school bus crash in upstate New York. The accident caused injuries to at least four people who were on the Livingston Manor School District bus.
Source: the New Jersey Herald Report: Several injured in school bus accident in upstate New York
“ROCKLAND, N.Y. (AP) – Authorities say several students have been injured after their school bus was involved in an accident on a road in the Catskills.”
To read more visit http://www.njherald.com/story/27982977/several-injured-in-school-bus-accident-in-upstate-new-york.
Last year, multiple accidents like this made headlines across the country. Millions of children are transported to and from school everyday on school buses. Many parents don’t think to question whether their child will have a safe commute, believing the size and design of school buses provide them with protections from crash related injuries. However, as stories like the recent New York school bus crash illustrate, injuries can happen and it is hard to predict when such an incident will occur.
One point of concern spotlighted recently in the media by transportation safety advocates is the use of seat belts on school buses. According to a report by the National Coalition for School Bus Safety, a past NHTSA report to Congress found that “On average, over the past 11 years, school buses have been involved in over 26,000 crashes, resulting in less than 1,000 incapacitating injuries and slightly more than 7,000 non-incapacitating injuries and possible injuries to passengers.”
Although deaths and serious injuries linked to school bus accidents are low in number compared to other types of traffic accidents, some suggest the number of accident injuries sustained by students annually does warrant consideration of ways to decrease safety risks to bus riders overall. The use of seat belts on school buses has long been one widely championed recommendation.
Source: ABC News Report “Would Putting Seatbelts on School Buses Save Children’s Lives?”
“Michael Watkins was 9 years old when the school bus he was riding on the way to his Indiana charter school crashed into a bridge in March 2012… Watkins’ mother, Natasha Hobbs, believes her son’s injury could have been prevented had he been wearing a seatbelt on the school bus.”
Larry Gray, CEO of IMMI, which develops safety belts for school buses, is quoted as stating to ABC News in the same report of the results of a crash dummy test at C.A.P.E., the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation, “You can see that the two children that are belted, it’s a no-brainer, they’re in their compartments and they’re safe, the children that are unrestrained, this is very dramatic… They’re thrown throughout the vehicle and they hit hard surfaces or the roof of the vehicle. So we see that seat belts protect and reduce injuries.”
The push for the use of seat belts for restraint in school buses on a nationwide scale has been met with controversy. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has made suggestions over time that it would be too a costly of a measure, and that even without them school buses remain a safer mode of transportation than private automobiles. Whether the board will be swayed to change its stance in light of the significant number of school bus accidents that have been reported over the last few years remains to be seen.
New York based personal injury lawyer Jonathan C. Reiter, whose practice, the Jonathan C. Reiter Law Firm PLLC handles multiple types of bus accident injury cases says of the issue, “New York is one of only six states that require school bus riders to have access to safety belts at all times. Many are waiting to see when and if other states will follow suit.”
Read his previous blog post – Manhattan New York Bus Accident Attorney Jonathan C. Reiter Discusses Bus Crashes and What To Do When Involved In One