Each year when school begins, school bus safety becomes a major concern for parents, school administrators and government officials. This year, New Jersey has increased the safety standards for school buses by passing a state law which will require them to have three-point seat belts.
A three-point seat belt is a belt that goes over the shoulder and over the lap of a passenger. They help to restrain the upper body of the passenger in event of collision, providing much better protection than solely a lap belt would.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), using a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries in vehicle crashes. Currently, however, only eight states, including New Jersey, require seat belts on school buses larger than 10,000 pounds. By federal safety standards, school buses that weigh less than 10,000 pounds require three-point seat belts. Out of these eight states, only California, Texas and now New Jersey require three-point seat belts in large school buses.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), school buses are the safest vehicles on the road due to a special technology within the bus called compartmentalization. School bus seats are secured to the floor of each bus. Each high, padded seat is made with energy absorbing steel meant to protect each compartment of the bus. However, the NTSB admits that compartmentalization cannot prevent all injuries, such as injuries sustained from a side collision or rollover accident. For some children, they admit, a seat belt could have lessened their injuries or even saved their life.
This new legislation takes effect immediately and applies to school buses manufactured on or after 180 days of the governor’s signature.
If another person or entity has injured or killed your child due to negligence in Atlantic City, Cape May or the surrounding South Jersey area, contact our child injury lawyers at Targan Pender & Strickland, P.C.
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