Passengers on large buses across the United States will soon receive an important safety upgrade. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, buses manufactured in the United States that carry passengers between cities will now have to install seat belts on all buses beginning in November 2016.
The NHTSA says that all manufacturers will have a few years to upgrade their plants and prepare before the changes kick into effect. The rule excludes school buses and public transit buses, meaning there is currently no hope for young children to receive the benefit of seat belts, at least not in the near future. The law goes even further and says that manufacturers must install three-point belts, not simple lap belts.
The regulation is a long time coming according to safety experts. The National Transportation Safety Board first proposed the seat belt rule back in the late 1960s following a deadly and attention-getting bus crash in California. In that accident, 19 people were killed, damage that the NTSB says could have been minimized had seat belts been installed on the bus.
For years, safety advocates and manufacturers fought back and forth about the proposal, but the idea of installing safety belts has been given increased support in recent years due to the explosion in demand for some discount bus operators. Consumers have flocked to the commercial busing industry and it now is responsible for transporting 700 million passengers every year, essentially the same size as the domestic airline market.
NHTSA officials say that more than 20 people die in large bus accidents every year and another 8,000 suffer injuries. The goal is that with the addition of seat belts this injury and fatality rate can be cut in half. The reason that the seat belts are thought to help is because of the dangers posed to passengers by rollover crashes.
Large passenger buses have continued to grow in their dimensions, with some operators using double-deckers. This top-heaviness has been shown to contribute to rollover accidents, a type of crash that is especially deadly. In rollover accidents, passengers are much more likely to be ejected from the cabin of the bus, something that causes nearly 50 percent of all bus fatalities. With the addition of seat belts, the hope is that the majority of these people will now be held firmly in place inside the bus.
If you have been injured in a Mississippi car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer accident and think you may have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “US mandates seat belts in tour buses,” published at Yahoo.com.
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