Accident Stirs School Bus Seat Belt Debate

Recently, a Las Vegas man was cited after colliding with a school bus. According to a Fox News report, the driver of the car failed to yield the right of way to the bus, striking it on the right side. The bus was carrying 43 children at the time of the accident. While many walked away from the accident, the Fox report notes that seven children sustained minor injuries.

The accident once again raised the question of whether seat belts should be mandatory on school buses. Advocates say that safety belts and restraints make sense, but the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that even without seat belts, school buses are one of the safest modes of transportation. According to NHTSA statistics, from 1998 to 2008, an average of 19 children were killed in school transportation related accidents, but only five of those killed were occupants of the bus.

Doug Geller, Transportation Director for the Clark County School District, says in a KTNV report that seat belts, while safe, pose another risk for children. According to Geller, the biggest risk in a school bus accident is a fire and not the accident itself. Geller notes that in the event of a fire there is a one to two minute window to get children off the bus. In that case, seat belts cause more of a safety issue than the initial collision.

Cost has also been a concern for many administrators. The KTNV report notes that Clark County runs over 1,500 buses. Geller says the cost to install seatbelts runs approximately $10,000 per bus. But many parents, especially those who had children on the bus involved in the accident are not convinced and are pressing for a change. Six states have mandatory school bus safety belt laws: New York, New Jersey, Florida, California, Texas and Louisiana. Currently, there is no legislation concerning seat belts in school buses pending in Nevada.

Working With an Attorney

While school buses are statistically a safe form of travel, accidents like one in Las Vegas still occur and the injuries that happen to children can be serious. If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, it is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney.