In the southeast Missouri town of Poplar Bluff, a school bus carrying 29 children on their way to school was hit by an 80-year old pick-up truck driver. The 80 year old driver was operating a pick-up truck when he ran a red light and struck the bus. The 50-year old bus driver and 29 children were all taken to the Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center for injuries sustained in the Missouri bus accident. It is not yet clear whether the 80-year old driver will face criminal charges.
The modern school bus which transports children to and from school, lacks the seat belts found in modern cars and trucks. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), seat belts would provide little, if any, additional protections for students involved in school bus crashes. The design of the standard school bus takes a compartmentalization design that includes: Seats with high backs, seats with high energy absorbing material, closely positioned seats to create compartments, and securely anchored seat fixtures.
The National Transportation Safety Board states that insufficient research exists to mandate safety belts in school buses. However, advocates of seat belts in school buses state that these restraints reduce injuries and fatalities in school bus crashes, reduce injuries related to children hanging arms and legs out of school bus windows, and improve school bus behavior by keeping children seated.
While it is not a federal requirement to install seat belts in school buses, bus companies have the option to install them if they desire. It is estimated that it costs approximately $1,500.00 to outfit the standard school bus with seat belts. This price tag is certainly a contributing factor in any districts decision to take the additional safety measure.
The more interesting thought to consider is how this affects the “Buckle Up” message our society so strongly advertises to its children and citizens alike. Everyone is familiar with the “Click It Or Ticket” message advertised by local state and federal authorities. How can we as a society teach our children to buckle up, when they spend the majority of their youth traveling to and from schools as unrestrained passengers? Impressionable children need a consistent message to reinforce the importance of seat belt use.
If your child is injured in a bus crash, it is important you immediately contact a Missouri bus accident lawyer. Just as the bus companies shortcut the $1,500 seat belt additions in the name of profits, your injury is simply another loss of profit to these large corporations. It is important that you have a competent Missouri accident lawyer fighting to ensure your child receives full reimbursement for their harms and losses. If you have questions about your bus crash, or are in need of additional information, contact Chris Dixon at 314.409.7060, or toll free at 855.402.7274, to discuss your case.