NHTSA Rule Requiring Seat Belts On Buses Is Common Sense, Says Personal Injury Attorney David Lietz

Law Firm Newswire



Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) December 16, 2013 – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued a rule requiring seat belts on all new large buses.

The regulation — issued November 20, 2013 and called a “final rule” — requires a lap and shoulder seat belt to be available for every passenger and driver seat. It applies to all new buses weighing over 26,000 pounds with the exception of transit buses (e.g. city buses) and school buses. The rule takes effect in November 2016. Personal injury attorney David Lietz praised the new rule, predicting that it will save lives.

“It’s high time and simply common sense for buses to offer seat belts,” the Washington, D.C. attorney commented. “No one will be forced to buckle up, but those who wish to do so on long-distance trips deserve to have that option.”

In a release announcing the new rule, the NHTSA noted that the new rule would significantly reduce the risk of death and injury in frontal collisions and the risk of passenger ejection in rollovers.

“Buses are quite safe in general, and offer reasonable protection in frontal crashes,” Lietz added. “But no vehicle is safe in a rollover, and buses, being very tall, are quite susceptible to rollovers. Your chances of surviving a rollover are far greater if you are wearing a seat belt.”

The NHTSA said that an average of 21 occupants of large buses are killed in collisions annually, and another 7,934 are injured. Nearly half of the deaths and serious injuries in large bus collisions may be prevented by requiring seat belts, the agency claims.

Some bus operators already purchase buses outfitted with seat belts, the agency said, and the Department of Transportation will continue to encourage adoption of seat belts ahead of the November 2016 deadline. The rule fulfills a requirement of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, a two-year transportation reauthorization bill made law in 2012.

“I applaud the NHTSA for issuing this rule, and I look forward to seeing its positive impact on the safety of bus travel,” Lietz said.