Earlier in May, a school bus full of children on a field trip crashed into a dump truck in New Jersey. A teacher passed away in the accident, along with one student, and many others suffered injuries. The bus was ripped completely off of its frame by the impact, and it wound up lying on its side.
Now, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said that it would be wise to put seat belts on new buses. It’s worth noting that this is just a recommendation, not a regulation that must be followed. On top of that, they’re simply saying new buses need these belts, not that old school buses need to be updated.
In addition to seat belts, the Board said it recommended that new buses get automatic emergency brakes and collision-avoidance systems.
In light of this, it is worth noting that large school buses in Illinois, like the one that got hit in New Jersey, do not have to have seat belts. Some politicians have said there is no safer way to travel and that the design of the bus makes belts less necessary.
Smaller school buses do need to have lap belts and shoulder belts under Illinois law. These are required on any bus that weighs in under 10,000 pounds.
Politicians in Illinois have been trying to change the law for two decades, but concerns about increasing costs have kept any of the proposed bills from going through.
Was your child injured or tragically killed in a school bus accident? If so, make sure you know what rights you have to financial compensation.
Source: ABC, “NTSB recommends seatbelts on all new school buses after deadly crashes,” May 23, 2018