More than 50,000 buses are being recalled nationwide by the U.S. Department of Transportation after concerns have been raised about the seats not having sufficient padding to protect children in the event of a bus accident. According to a news report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that the seats may have been made with styrene blocks that might not provide enough impact absorption in certain specific areas around the steel seat frame of the back support. NHTSA also said that as such, the buses don’t comply with federal safety standards, particularly those regarding school bus passenger seating and crash protection.
A total of 53,528 school buses manufactured between 2014 and 2020 are being recalled.
The buses — the Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner EFX, Minotour, Saf-T-Liner C2, and Saf-T-Liner HDX school bus models — are equipped with SynTec S3B or S3C seats. When the recall begins on Dec. 2, dealers will install additional impact material in the seats to increase the amount of absorption free of charge.
How School Buses Are Built
October is observed as National School Bus Safety Month. Statistics show that students are much more likely to get to school safely while taking a school bus instead of traveling by car. This is because school buses are regulated. They are designed to be safer than normal passenger vehicles. School buses are also different by design. They are built to be highly visible and include safety features such as flashing red lights, cross-view mirrors and stop-sign arms. They include protective seating, high crush standards and rollover protection features.
Laws also protect students who are getting on and off a school bus by making it illegal for drivers to pass a school bus while dropping off or picking up passengers. However, many school buses around the country still don’t have seatbelts because there are no laws requiring them. As a result, when there is a violent crash, we do see catastrophic injuries and deaths, particularly when children are thrown around the bus or ejected from the vehicle.
If Your Child Has Been Injured
If your child has been injured in a school bus accident as a result of a defectively designed or manufactured school bus, you may be able to seek compensation for damages from the manufacturer. Your child may be entitled to receive damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced product defect lawyer who has handled auto defect cases can help injured victims and their families better understand their legal rights and options.