Seat Belts on School Buses Bill Scheduled for 2017 Tennessee Legislative Session

Seat Belts on School Buses Bill Scheduled for 2017 Tennessee Legislative Session

Tennessee lawmakers convened for the 110th General Assembly on Wednesday, and the session is expected to include a bill that would require all school buses in the state to be equipped with seat belts.

Per a report by WKRN.com and WATE.com, the bill was conceived after the school bus crash in Chattanooga in November that killed several students.

The state has a budget surplus heading into the 2017 legislative session, and some lawmakers want that money to go towards adding seat belts to school buses, which could cost a few million dollars.

Other lawmakers say that adding seat belts to buses would require coming up with solutions that fit different age groups, as the same school bus may carry kindergarteners and high school students, which would require vastly different safety harnesses and seat belts.

A report by the Associated Press says that Metro Nashville’s director of schools will consider the feasibility of such a move. In December, school officials said that adding seat belts to buses would cost around $12,000 per bus.

In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommended that three-point lap shoulder belts should be added to school buses, but the agency hasn’t yet enforced that recommendation.

3 Important Facts to Know about Seat Belts

Law enforcement agencies and transportation agencies have long published educational and public outreach materials about the importance and effectiveness of seat belts when it comes to preventing injuries and death during car accidents. Because of their importance, it’s required that all drivers and passengers always buckle when their vehicles are on a roadway in the state of Tennessee.

And while you may be in the habit of always buckling up, there could be a few things you don’t know about seat belts that could save your life or the life of a loved one, such as:

  • Seat belts are less effective when they aren’t worn correctly or don’t fit correctly.

Seat belts aren’t one-size-fits-all, and they aren’t always 100 percent effective when they’re simply buckled without making a few minor adjustments. Make sure your seat belt is tight around your body, that it goes over your pelvic region and not your stomach, and that the shoulder harness rests on your shoulder and not your neck.

  • Damaged seat belts are much less effective than undamaged seat belts.

Seat belts are subject to wear and tear just like anything else in a vehicle. Check your seat belts for signs of damage, such as fraying or fuzzing around the edges of the fabric or nylon, cuts in the fabric, holes in the fabric, or damage to the buckle itself. In addition, you should also consider getting any seat belts that held yourself or someone else in place during an accident replaced, as they may be less effective during future accidents.

  • Air bags aren’t a substitute for seat belts.

Almost all modern vehicles are equipped with air bags, which are designed to reduce the impact that drivers and passengers feel during collisions. These safety devices help decrease the risk of serious injuries caused when occupants strike seats, steering wheels, and dashboards, but they’re ineffective when it comes to keeping drivers and passengers inside vehicles. Ejections are the biggest risks that occupants face during crashes, and seat belts are by far the most effective way to prevent them.

If your child rides a bus in Tennessee that isn’t equipped with seat belts, remind him or her of other ways to stay safe, such as safe ways to enter and exit the bus, the importance of keeping aisles clear, and avoiding behaviors that can cause the bus driver to become distracted.

Was your child hurt in a bus accident that was caused by the bus driver’s or another motorist’s negligence? If so, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out if you have a case for pursuing damages for things like medical bills and pain and suffering, get in touch with the Nashville bus accident lawyers at Matt Hardin Law. We have two decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims, and we know what it takes to win.

Dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form to speak with us today.

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