NHTSA Leader Pushes for Seat Belts on School Buses
Submitted by New Jersey Bus Accident Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
The Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced at a conference during the weekend that he’s making the push for 3-point seat belts on every school bus in the country.
“The position of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is that seat belts save lives,” Mark Rosekind, an administrator with the NHTSA, said. “That is true whether in a passenger car or in a big yellow bus.”
California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas have passed some variation of a seat belt law for school buses according The National Conference of State Legislatures.
“School buses should have seat belts. Period. It should be utterly uncontroversial – there is no question that seat belts offer improved safety,” Rosekind said.
According to NHTSA’s website students are about 50 times more like to arrive at school alive if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends.
Roughly 23.5 million children ride public school buses a year—according to the U.S. Department of Transportation from data obtained in 2006, on average six kids die in bus crashes as passengers a year.
“School buses are still the safest modes of transportation,” Lt. Karl L. Mittelstadt, with the Wisconsin State Patrol, said.
Lt. Mittelstadt, who leads school bus safety inspection efforts around Wisconsin, tells parents when asked about seat belts that a bus reacts differently to a crash’s impact than a passenger car.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS REPORTER Eric Chaloux asked Lt. Mittelstadt if the argument against seat belts is that kids buckled in might not be able to get out when caught in an accident.
“I don’t know if it’s the main concern but definitely a concern,” Lt. Mittelstadt said.
NHTSA said their first step in the process will be the research phase on to improve their school bus safety data, and data on the safety benefits of seat belts.
“I won’t downplay the challenges of the rulemaking process, including the time involved and the dispassionate cost-benefit requirements imposed upon NHTSA as a safety regulator,” Rosekind said.
Originally published here kstp.com