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Is it time for seat belts on commercial buses?

When commercial buses are involved in collisions, the results are often tragic. Bus accidents often result in fatalities, life-changing injuries and immeasurable pain and suffering. One reason for the serious consequences of bus accidents is the fact that the people on board are rarely wearing seat belts.

In recent decades, the National Transportation Safety Board has called upon commercial bus companies, again and again, to add seat belts to their vehicles. But, these calls have gone unanswered. Many Pennsylvania residents continue to ride on buses with very little, if any, safety gear. 

Why is it that seat belts as well as other safety features are not  mandatory in buses? 

Several years ago, the NTSB did move to focus on motorcoach safety, and a variety of bus safety improvements were included in a transportation bill that has actually been signed into law. In fact, the government was given a September deadline to write seat belt regulations, but that deadline has come and gone. A September 2014 deadline has been set for other safety regulations regarding windows and roofs, but people believe that those deadlines will not be met either.

There are a number of complicated reasons that the government has been slow - very slow - to regulate bus safety. The NTSB first recommended that seat belts become required in motorcoaches in 1968.

Hopefully, something will change, and the the government will meet - or even beat - its September 2014 deadline. Lives may be on the line.

Those who are involved in bus or other commercial vehicle accidents should seek legal guidance in order to understand their rights. In many cases, it is possible to obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other costs after being involved in such an accident.

Source: Associated Press, "Seat belts on commercial buses delayed 45 years," Joan Lowy, Nov. 12, 2013

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