California seat belt regulations fall short in bus accidents

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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When seat belt safety is paramount to driver safety, it can be shocking to learn that California has historically had no formal law in effect regarding seatbelts on public buses and school buses. At the law firm of , we understand your fear that a trip home on public transit could quickly become a trip to the emergency room.

Such was the case in the instance of a motor coach that crashed on the route back from a Salton Sea casino. According to the LA Times, 12 of the 43 passengers and the driver of the bus died when the bus collided with a truck. Neither the passengers nor the driver wore seat belts. While a new law will soon require manufacturers to install seat belts on public transit vehicles you may ride, no current law exists to require retrofit of older bus models with necessary safety precautions.

With California’s bus accident and death rates reaching historic levels despite compliance with federal laws for bus safety, many lawmakers have pursued additional legislation seeking more stringent monitoring than existing self-inspection laws. Particularly in the case of preventable bus collisions, California Highway Patrol members may be able to discover safety issues from poorly maintained vehicles with a higher frequency of random spot inspections to reduce your risk.

With bus travel offering a source of transportation for many low-income communities and citizens, taking the bus should be as safe as possible. As a California citizen, you deserve the protection of a safe bus ride. For more information on bus collisions and bus accident claims, visit our page on bus accidents and injuries.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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