Written by: Allan L. Ziffra, Esq.
Lack of seatbelt restraints can be linked to child fatalities in automobile accidents
More than half of all child fatalities resulting from a car crash involve children that were not wearing their seat belt at the time of the accident. In relation to this, it is often the case that an unrestrained child in a moving car or bus can be a serious distraction for the driver, substantially increasing the likelihood of an automobile accident. However, lap/shoulder seatbelts have been proven to reduce injuries to children and toddlers in a crash by more than 50% and a staggering 70% to infants.
While all motor vehicles are now equipped with seatbelt restraints (and a majority of parents make sure that their children utilize these seatbelts) almost all school buses are designed to transport children without using seatbelts. Instead, buses use compartmentalization as a safety mechanism. This concept merely describes certain safety features, such as high back seats, as keeping children safe in a compartment-like atmosphere. However, the National Transportation Safety Board found that compartmentalization is “incomplete” and “does not protect passengers during lateral impacts with vehicles of large mass, in rollovers and from ejection.” One can conclude that this feature has done virtually nothing to improve the safety of our children or their survivability in the event of a bus accident.
School buses are still without safety restraints
The risk of death or injury to children is greater in collisions at speeds greater than 30 mph, largely due to the lack of seatbelt restraints. Federal crash tests for school buses have demonstrated that lap/shoulder belt systems would greatly reduce child injuries, especially those to the head and neck. However, many school buses today still do not have this safety feature. While some school buses have employed lap belts alone, these are not as safe as lap/shoulder belts on bus bench seats and do not prevent head and neck injuries.
Ways to protect your child
If your child’s bus does not have safety belts, advise them not to ride in the front row of seats, not to stand in the aisle while the bus is in motion and not to sit with more than two occupants on a bench at a time. These simple steps will help protect your child in case of a motor vehicle accident, especially if they must ride the school bus often. As always, it is imperative to take the best safety precaution available when riding in a vehicle, so make sure they buckle up if a lap/shoulder harness seat belt restraint system is in place!
Being aware of the laws and taking precautions are important and useful steps to take to avoid injuries during a motor vehicle crash. If you unfortunately become the victim of an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, or if you just have questions about your rights as a driver on Florida’s highways, call the Daytona Beach personal injury attorneys at Rue & Ziffra, P.A. for a free consultation.
The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra, P.A. and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.
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