Seat belt manufacturers in Indiana have seen a spike in the demand for school bus seat belts, after a deadly accident killed a 5-year-old child last month. Meanwhile, school bus driver groups as well as the school bus industry continue to oppose any mandate for seat belts on school buses.
Indiana does not have a mandate that requires seat belts to be installed on all school buses. That is in sharp contrast to many other states across the country that have mandated these most basic safety aids on school buses.
California has a rule that requires buses with more than 60 passengers to come with restraint systems, while Florida requires that buses purchased after December 2000 be equipped with seat belts. Even Texas, a state that is notoriously immune to safety laws as exhibited in its failure to enact laws banning the use of cell phones while driving, has a law that requires seat belts on school buses. Under the Texas law, school buses purchased on or after September 2010 must be equipped with 3-point seat belt systems.
In Indiana, there is no such mandate. In fact, there is plenty of opposition to any such mandate. According to the president of the Indiana State School Bus Drivers Association, his group does not support any mandate for seat belts on school buses.
The argument against having seat belts on buses is that these systems will be difficult to remove in case of an accident, and children may be trapped. Also, these groups insist that during a fire, it will be much more difficult to evacuate children from the bus.
There are a lot of other arguments that these groups have against mandating seat belts on school buses. For instance, children may use the seat belt to injure other students. Many of the arguments against seat belts however, are quite flimsy.
However, there are some indications that some school bus companies have begun to install seat belts on buses even without a mandate. According to a Westfield-based safety company, it has amped production on seat belts for school buses, in order to meet an increased demand for these aids. The company says that it will hire 65 additional workers in order to keep up with the demand. The company which already employs more than 100 employees is looking for manufacturing workers, and engineers to support increased demand.
According to the company, there is an increasing demand for seat belts from school district across Indiana. Much of that demand is being driven by the fact that parents are now worried about sending their children to school on buses that do not have seat belts.
The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy are dedicated to the representation of persons injured due to the negligence of others across Indiana.