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Could seatbelts on school busses save lives?

Many children in Massachusetts travel on a bus to and from school. While this is a common practice in schools districts across the nation, there is always concern for children in the event a bus accident occurs. In order to increase school bus safety, many question whether seatbelts should be implemented in an attempt to reduce and prevent injuries and fatalities in the event of a school bus accident.

Could seatbelts on school busses save lives? While most states do not provide or require seatbelts to be worn while traveling on a school bus, studies have been conducted to assess whether a child passenger would be safer if they were required to wear a seatbelt.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it would cost $5,485 to $7,346 to install lap and shoulder belts in large school busses. Moreover, they estimate that the installation of these lap and shoulder seatbelts could save, on average, two lives annually nationwide. While their estimates do not show a major increase in reducing fatalities in school bus accidents, it could be a safety measure that eventually saves more lives when other safety concerns are addressed.

While constraints in a school bus could prevent injuries and fatalities in a collision, parents and students should be mindful of other school bus safety concerns. This means standing at least three giant steps away from a curb or road when a school bus approaches and waiting to approach the bus until it has come to a complete stop, the doors open, and the driver okays the student to enter the bus. In addition, drivers traveling near a school bus should be attentive because these vehicles make frequent stops to allow students to enter or depart.

Seatbelts in school buses may not be the norm now and although the safety points above are certainly worth following, accidents still unfortunately occur. A school bus accident could be a serious situation for a student and their parents. Following a bus accident, it is important to understand your legal rights and remedies. If another party was negligent and caused the accident, then you might be able to file a civil action to recover losses and damages.

Source: News.yahoo.com, "School Bus Safety," Sept. 11, 2014

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