HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are one of the safest forms of transportation in the United States, even though many aren't equipped with seat belts.
In 2006 four teenage girls were killed and several others were injured when a bus fell 30 feet off of I-565 in Huntsville. After the Lee High School bus crash incident the National Transportation Safety Board conducted an investigation, and as part of the investigation they checked to see if seat belts would have made a difference.
Mark McDaniel represented several of the injured victims and some of the families who lost loved ones in the Lee High crash. He said court experts were split down the middle if seat belts on school buses would make a difference. "You had some expert witnesses come to testify and say seat belts would have helped others say they wouldn't," McDaniel said.
According to the NTSB report on the Lee High Crash if the bus was equipped with lap/shoulder belts some serious injuries could have been less severe; for those sitting away from the front of the bus.
This would include the fatally injured teenager sitting on the second row of the bus, and the seriously injured in the back. But the report says they were uncertain if seat belts would have made a difference on the front row of the bus, due to the bus' point of maximum penetration.
The talk of seat belts on school buses has been brought up numerous times over the years. Since the crash in Chattanooga the conversation is starting all over again.