March 15, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Agency says new commercial bus seat belt requirement is coming soon
Article provided by Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP
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After years of debate, regulations that will require all new commercial buses to have safety belts installed are likely to come "very soon," said David Strickland, National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator, at the North American International Auto Show. The use of seat belts on buses is a key factor in reducing the risk of serious injury in an accident, and some bus companies are already buying new vehicles with safety belts installed, according to The Detroit News.
From 2003 to 2009, The Detroit News says 133 people were killed in commercial bus accidents. In addition, ABC News reports that a majority of commercial bus accident fatalities occur in rollover accidents. Without seat restraints, passengers can be ejected from the bus when it overturns, often leading to tragedy. However, the NHTSA estimates that seat belts can reduce the number of deaths in a rollover bus accident by 77 percent, provided that passengers use the safety belts when they are available.
According to ABC News, several new NHTSA safety regulations are supposed to be finalized by the end of 2013. The regulations are expected to include the new safety belt requirement, and they may also address structural integrity requirements in buses and vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
When the seat belt requirement is finalized, it will become effective three years later. The regulation will only require new commercial buses to have safety belts installed; it will not require existing buses to be retrofitted. The NHTSA estimates that the cost of the seat-belt requirement will be about $13,000 per bus, or about $25 million annually. The NHTSA also says that safety belts on busses could save about eight lives a year, if people use them.
The federal government cannot require passengers to use seat belts in the regulations, but individual states have the ability to do so, similar to laws requiring people to wear seat belts in passenger cars. New York law requires all drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seat belts. In addition, all children under age 16 must wear a seat belt at all times. Children under age 4 must ride in a child safety seat, and children ages 4 to 8 must use a safety restraint in addition to a seat belt.
Despite one's safety precautions, though, accidents still happen and people still may suffer severe injuries in a bus or car accident. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident, contact a personal injury attorney with experience in car accident cases to discuss your legal options.---
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