The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

NJ Bus Accident Survivor Calls for Improved Seat Belts on School Buses

Would three-point belts on school buses save lives?

The horrific fatal bus accident that happened last May has many people in New Jersey asking what steps can be taken to prevent school bus deaths. One teacher and one student were killed when a school bus driver collided with a dump truck in New Jersey. The driver was later discovered to have several license suspensions and traffic violations. Though the bus was equipped with seat belts, they were only lap belts. Now, a fifth grader who survived the crash is calling for better mandatory seat belts on all school buses.

Lack of Three-Point Seat Belts Can Lead to Injuries

Eleven-year-old Peter Caminiti was riding the bus on that fateful May day in Mount Olive. The fifth grader was wearing the bus’s provided lap belt, which resulted in his suspension when the bus flipped onto its side. However, the student suffered a serious head injury that he believes could have been prevented with a three-point seat belt. Now, this student is urging the state to require the installation of three-point seat belts in all school buses. He provided testimony before a joint hearing of the state Assembly and Senate Transportation Committee.

NTSB School Bus Recommendations

Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all school buses be equipped with three-point belts, which hold the student in at both the shoulder and the lap. Currently, only a few states require three-point belts, while several others call for lap belts. New Jersey is one of the many states that requires only lap belts. The New Jersey school board has expressed concerns over a lack of resources to make modifications to existing buses.

Though resources are always of concern, the NTSB recommendation suggests that school boards across the nation should reexamine the safety of their buses. School buses are the most common form of transportation for school aged children. While school buses traditionally have a terrific safety record, several fatal bus accidents this past year have many people reassessing what steps we can take to keep our children safe.

If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, contact a personal injury attorney right away. Lawsuits lodged against a school board come with challenges, but there are often ways for injured students to obtain compensation for their losses from the party responsible for the accident.

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