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NHTSA: Commercial buses to be fitted with safety belts

Remember riding the bus to camp as a kid and able to move around as you wished (at least when the driver wasn't looking or shouting at you)? How about travelling with your sports teams? Well, the days of relying on the green padded seat in front of you to protect you from any and all accidents may be over.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing regulations to take effect by the end of 2013 that will include the requirement of safety belts on commercial buses. School buses operated by private entities are considered commercial vehicles, but not those operated by the state (as in public schools).

The NHTSA won't require current commercial buses to be retrofitted with the seat belts because of its economic impact on the carriers, but has not ruled out that possibility down the road. The estimated cost for the outfitting of safety belts amounts to $13,000 per bus and roughly $25 million each year once the proposal goes into effect. It is estimated that the new regulations may save as many as eight lives per year when the belts are used in accordance with regulations.

There have been a few serious accidents involving buses over the last couple of years that has led to these new proposed regulations. Given that, bus transit still remains quite popular and is one of the safest means of travel in the United States. If you have suffered injuries travelling by commercial vehicle, please contact an attorney practiced in motor vehicle accident law. Your rehabilitation and restitution will be their number one priority.

Source: The Detroit News, "Feds finalizing new rules that include bus seat belts," David Shepardson, Jan. 17, 2013

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