Metro Council Scheduled to Vote on Seat Belt Plan for School Buses
In response to the tragic school bus accident in Hamilton County that killed six young students, the Nashville’s Metro Council is scheduled to vote on a plan that would require all school buses in the city to be outfitted with seat belts.
Per a report by WKRN.com, Tennessee state law doesn’t require school buses to have seat belts. The council’s plan is to either immediately add seat belts to all school buses or begin adding them to new school buses as old ones are replaced.
An estimate by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that adding seat belts to just a single school bus could cost around $7,000.
Metro schools recently released a statement after the accident in Chattanooga saying that they haven’t used seat belts on buses in the past due to the difficulty of making sure all students wear them. They also said that they could make it difficult for bus drivers to help pull children off buses after accidents.
What Are the Benefits of Seat Belts?
Seat belts offer tremendous safety benefits for all vehicle occupants, including drivers and passengers in cars, trucks, SUVs, buses, and other commercial vehicles. Tennessee state law requires that all drivers and passengers in standard passenger vehicles wear seat belts due to their effectiveness at protecting people during accidents.
Some of the most important and proven benefits of seat belts include the following:
- Preventing ejections during accidents
Certain types of crashes—including head-on collisions and roll-overs—put occupants at risk of being ejected from vehicles. People who are ejected are extremely likely to suffer critical and even life-threatening injuries. Drivers and passengers who aren’t buckled up are more than 15 times more likely to be ejected than people who wear their seat belts.
- Preventing certain head, neck, and spinal injuries
In addition to preventing occupants from being ejected from their vehicles, seat belts also hold them in place. Car accident victims who are properly restrained are less likely to experience serious trauma affecting their brains, necks, and spinal cords. Seat belts limit violent motions caused by accidents, which not only reduces the risk of potentially life-threatening injuries, but also chronic injuries like whiplash.
- Preventing impact with the steering wheel, dashboard, and seat
Although all modern vehicles are equipped with airbags, victims may still be at risk of hitting their heads on hard surfaces in their cars, trucks, or SUVs during accidents. Even airbags, which are designed to significantly reduce the risk of injury, can cause victims to suffer facial injuries due to high-speed impacts, especially when they aren’t buckled up.
- Preventing occupants from striking each other
During accidents, unrestrained vehicle occupants can pose major risks to each other. Back seat passengers can be thrown into the front seat, and front seat passengers can be thrown into the back seat. When occupants collide during high-speed or high-impact crashes, they can suffer significant injuries. That’s why it’s also important for drivers to keep heavy and loose objects out of their vehicles or secured under a cargo net.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that seat belts saved 12,802 lives in 2014 and helped reduce the number of serious crash-related injuries by half. It also says that while air bags are highly effective at reducing the risk of injuries during crashes, they are no substitute for seat belts. All drivers and passengers should always buckle up when they have a chance to do so. In addition to protecting you from serious injuries, it can also prevent you from getting an expensive ticket or citation.
Were you or someone you know recently injured in a car or bus accident? The Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law know how challenging and difficult this time can be—especially if the accident injuries that make it difficult or impossible for you to work. Get in touch with our legal team today to find out how we can assist you. Dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.