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Fatal Georgia School Bus Accident Reignites Seatbelt Debate

Fatal Georgia School Bus Accident Reignites Seatbelt Debate

The death of a 17-year-old student in a school bus accident in southern Georgia this week has again raised questions about whether the state needs to make it mandatory for all school buses to come with seatbelts.

The accident which occurred on Monday afternoon, involved a school bus that overturned on Highway 113.The victim, a 17-year-old boy was ejected from the bus.As the bus rolled over, he came under the bus, and was crushed to death.At least 10 other students on the bus suffered injuries.

Every time there is a school bus accident in Georgia that involves injuries or fatalities, questions are raised about seatbelts and safety.This particular accident is no different.The debate has pitted parents and Atlanta bus accident lawyers against school districts.Many school districts insist that there is no convincing evidence to show that students would be much safer if all buses came equipped with seat belts.

During an accident, a person who is not wearing a seatbelt can be flung across the interior of the bus, increasing the possibility of injury.He may be ejected from the bus, placing him at serious risk of death.It’s difficult to say for certain that in this particular accident, the victim could have been saved if he had been wearing a seatbelt.However, it is highly likely that the victim would still have been restrained in his seat if he had been wearing a seatbelt when the bus flipped over.Witnesses at the scene reported heartrending scenes after the crash, with students piled up on top of each other inside the bus.That could have been avoided if all students had been wearing seatbelts.

Unfortunately, the issue of seatbelts and buses seems to ultimately come down to a question of economics.It is expensive to install seatbelts in all buses, and manufacturers of school buses have been successful in downplaying the risks from vehicles that don’t have seatbelts.

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  • Paula

    I’m a bus driver and would like to counter a few of the points.

    #1: Compliance. This is a big issue in a larger size bus. We, as drivers, have a hard enough time keeping kids seated correctly let alone belted in. This can even be hard in small busses where seatbelts are required.

    #2: Safety. If there is an accident where the driver needs to get the kids out of the busses quickly (such as an engine fire), and has to get them all out of seat belts; it’s asking for trouble. Also every bus driver has a seat belt cutter beside them, as seat belts can get stuck in a crash, how are they to handle that with the kid’s seats (and expect them not to mess with them).

    #3: Windows. Believe it or not windows are a HUGE cause of ejections of kids. Windows that are allowed to be all the way down are VERY dangerous. Windows should be allowed to be only ½ way down to prevent ejections. I would even go as far as to say bus manufactures should only allow windows to be lowered to ½ way.

    Thank you for listening to my points.