Back to School
August 22nd, a day most children and some parents loath because it means that the days of sleeping in and not having to do homework are over the first day of school has arrived. Safety is a parent’s number one concern when it comes to seeing their children ride off on a school bus. The fear that they are not there sitting next to them to make sure they are safe can be overwhelming, especially with the knowledge that most school buses do not have seat belts.
Why Don’t School Buses Have Seat Belts?
Texas passed a school bus seat belt law in 2007 that mandated that all school buses put into service after Sept. 2010 must be equipped with three-point seat belts. Funding for school districts to pay for seat belts in their school buses did not arrive until 2009. So why do so many school buses in Texas still not have seat belts? There was a loophole in the law that meant it was not mandatory for school districts to install seat belts in school buses since no direct state funding was designated strictly for them. Also, the law would not go into effect if Legislature couldn’t reimburse school districts for the cost of installing seat belts.
The only funding that was directly responsible for school bus seat belts was in 2011, from the Texas Education Agency, which offered about $415,000. According to KXAN.com which broke the story last year on how a $10 million dollar budget for seat belts was spent on everything but seat belts for children.
The Texas Education Agency received $10 million in 2009 to their upcoming budget year. School districts in Texas needed to submit applications to request funding for seat belts, but by 2011 only 12 out of the over 1,000 districts requested funding. The reason for the lack of interest was due to the fact that the funding was only meant to cover the cost of the seat belts and not the school bus themselves, which cost over $100,000 new and have a service life of 10 years. The lack of interest and drastic cuts to public education meant that the money was used for “commissioner’s priorities” like fine arts, early childhood data collection, and remedial education.
School Bus Accidents
Seat belts are seen as the foundation for safety when it comes to car accidents. Texas has laws that forces us to wear them whenever we get inside a vehicle. So the fact that putting seat belts in vehicles used to 25 million children a year has created such a bureaucratic nightmare may seem frustrating. Thankfully, serious school bus crashes are very, very rare, according to studies done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA reports estimated that 0.01 fatalities occur for every 100 million miles traveled in school buses.
Seat belts are designed to keep people safe in the event of an accident, but the best way is to prevent the need for them entirely by practicing safe driving habits and not use smart phones while driving. Especially now that the school year is starting and more traffic will be filling up the roads in the morning and afternoons.
Unfortunately, accidents happen every day and sometimes it can be unavoidable. That is why personal injury lawyers are called upon to help those in need. They help by offering you peace of mind knowing that they will fight to get what you deserve when medical bills pile up and insurance companies deny your claim.
Jeff’s Here 4 You!
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident Jeff is here for you. Davis Law Firm is here 24/7 to listen to your case. Our team of legal representatives offer free consultation at no risk to you. Don’t suffer another day and contact us today!