Georgia Lawmakers Consider School Bus Seat Belts after Fatal Accidents Escalate in Georgia
In the wake of two Georgia bus accidents this month including a Carroll County busing accident that resulted in the death of a 17 year old student, Georgia legislators are considering legislation requiring seat belts on school buses. Most Georgia school buses do not come equipped with seat belts, which is the case with most school buses across the nation.
Nonetheless, a study conducted over 35 years ago by crash experts concluded that lap belts were one of several safety measures necessary to reduce serious injuries in school bus accidents. Despite the results of this study, seat belts are only mandatory on school buses in a small number of states. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing those involved in serious motor vehicle accidents, including school bus accidents, in Georgia for over 36 years.
There are several reasons that school buses have not been required to add seat belts. Some studies have suggested that seat belts could actually cause injuries in certain types of vehicle collisions. It also has been argued that school buses are designed to be safe without seat belts because they have compartmentalized and padded seating. However, there is little dispute that seat belts would certainly reduce injuries that result from side collisions and rollover accidents like the fatal Carroll County busing accident. In a 2000 Georgia school bus accident where the bus collided with a train, three children were ejected; two of whom suffered serious injuries while the other was killed. Four passengers remained inside the bus, and two were killed while one suffered severe injuries. One of the passengers was wearing a seat belt and suffered only minor injuries.
The more common justification for not requiring school buses to use seat belts is the cost involved. It has been estimated that three-point seat belts would add $1500-1800 in cost per school bus. Some also have argued that school districts would face increased costs because the seats could not accommodate 3 seat belts so seating capacity would be reduced. If this is true, it is argued that this would mean the need for more school buses to carry the same number of passengers. Sadly, our children’s safety continues to be compromised to save money.
We can only hope that the Georgia legislature follows through to protect our children. Any of us who have put our children on a bus and sent them off to school could have been in the position of parents of the child killed in the Carroll County crash. It is tragic when saving money is put above the safety of our children. If your child is hurt in a motor vehicle accident, the caring attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, can help you seek compensation for your child’s injuries.
If you or someone you love is injured in a motor vehicle accident, call Montlick & Associates today to see how our Georgia school bus accident lawyers can help. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away and we will even come to you.