South Florida Bus Injuries Target of New Seat Belt Requirements

Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued a final rule to make seat belts mandatory on most large commercial buses and motorcoaches..  Officials are looking to increase safety and decrease the risk of death in the event of a frontal accident, as well as occupant ejection during rollover accidents.

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“While travel on motorcoaches is overall a safe form of transportation, when accidents do occur, there is the potential for a greater number of deaths and serious injuries,” said David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator.

Experienced   bus accident attorneys understand that there are more than 8,000 bus passengers injured each year in an industry that rivals the airline industry for size. What if we were seeing 8,000 airline injuries per year? . With the requirement of seat belts, officials believe that they can reduce the risks of death and injury by about 45 percent.  Wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent serious injury and death in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

This initiative began in 2007 and took several years of involvement with the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as several pieces of congressional legislation.  Transportation safety advocates said the rules were a victory for consumers, but questioned why it had taken more than 40 years for the DOT to act on the NTSB’s original recommendations.

This final rule will apply to all new over-the-road buses and to other kinds of new buses that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or 26,000 pounds.  Transit buses and school buses will not be covered in this rule. All newly-manufactured buses will have to come with lap and shoulder seat belts for all passengers and for the driver.

In addition, the new rule will not require seat belts on new public transit buses with “request-a-stop” systems, Shepardson writes. Also exempted are prison buses and airport shuttle buses that transport people to parking lots or rental car outlets,

This addresses the first priority area, passenger ejection, in the agency’s plan for improving bus safety, and it also fulfills a mandate in the new federal transportation funding law enacted in July 2012. There have already been a number of companies that have purchased buses that already have seat belts, and officials with the NHTSA will be continuing the industry to speed up their adoption of this new rule.

The addition of the shoulder belt to school bus seats has prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to publish an additional test procedure in order to test the performance of the seat belts.

Motor coach travel remains one of the safest ways to travel, carrying 750 million passengers annually in the United States and Canada and traveling 1.8 billion miles.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Form at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.  There is no fee unless we win.