The National Highway and Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced
that new commercial buses would be required to have seat belts starting
in 2016. The new rule does not apply to school buses or public transit buses.
San Diego injury lawyers, we are pleased that the federal government has finally approved this
important safety measure, which is long overdue. The National Transportation
Safety Board first recommended large buses be equipped with seatbelts
more than 50 years ago after a serious California bus crash in the Mojave Desert.
Since then, hundreds more have died. On average, 21 motorcoach and large
bus passengers are killed in traffic accidents every year, while almost
8,000 are injured, according to NHTSA data.
“While travel on motorcoaches is overall a safe form of transportation
when accidents do occur, there is the potential for a greater number of
deaths and serious injuries due to the number of occupants and high speeds
at which the vehicles are traveling,” said
NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
The agency predicts that the new law could reduce fatalities by up to 44
percent and reduce the number of moderate to severe injuries by up to
45 percent. Additional regulations to protect passengers in the event
of a rollover crash are expected next year. They would require reinforced
roofs and windows designed to prevent passengers from being ejected.