The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Bad Month For Bus Drivers; Worse Future For Bus Makers?

It's getting hard to keep track of all of the bus crashes in the area lately. A Google News search for "school bus crash" stories in the last month returns 2.25 million results.

Thursday, there was another crash, this time in New Jersey, reports ABC 6 Action News. A bus, a Cadillac, and a small commercial box truck all collided, sending the drivers of the bus and of the Cadillac to the hospital.

It is shocking that these bus companies are still in business. Is it their fault that these busses keep crashing? Not at all. However, one has to question the slow pace of improvements on safety measures and design enhancements over the last twenty or thirty years.

Seat belts were mandated in cars back in the 1960s. They still aren't required in larger busses because the busses are big and mean and yellow, and because the seats are apparently packed so close together that the kids won't go flying out, reports ABC News. Instead, they'll just bounce off the seats.

Approximately 17,000 children are treated in emergency rooms annually for injuries sustained in school buses. A total of 42% of injuries are from crashes. However, according to ABC, the NHSTA argues the injury rate from bus crashes rate is still lower than that when children are riding in the family car.

However, if there is an injury, the theory for recovery isn't all that complicated. For products liability lawsuits, if there is a reasonable alternative design, in terms of feasibility of construction and cost, and the manufacturer doesn't adopt the design, they can be held liable if the unsafe product injures the end users.

Buses with seat-belts already exist. Short busses require seat belts, as do some of the behemoths. Districts and states set their own regulations, and some have already required the belts.

In an era where people are focusing on getting one laptop computer per child, how have we not progressed enough to the point where we have one seatbelt per child?

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