In a prior post, we highlighted the importance of paying attention to school children during the morning hours, as many children are walking to school. However, we do not want to discount the importance of being careful while driving around school buses. Not only is it dangerous for kids getting on and exiting buses, failing to use reasonable care around moving buses could lead to tragic accidents.
While school bus accidents are not as common as car accidents, the risk of injury to kids is significant given that they are not secured in their seats through seatbelts. As a matter of fact, only six states across America, California, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, New York and New Jersey have passed laws that call for seatbelts in school buses.
This risk has apparently piqued the interest of federal regulators. The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is calling for a universal requirement for school buses to have seatbelts. Indeed, the notion of having kids wear seatbelts will have widespread support. However, implementation may be cost prohibitive.
According to a recent CBS.com report, the cost to fit school buses with seatbelts may cost between $7,000 and $10,000. With more than 500,000 school buses on American roads, the overall costs may reach $1 billion.
In the meantime, drivers must use reasonable care while around buses. If a driver fails to use such care, and it is found that a driver’s failure was the proximate cause of the crash, the driver could be held liable for the injuries suffered.