Many Washington residents understand the importance of child safety seats and restraint systems. These devices help keep even the youngest children and babies safe as they travel in cars. Without the proper use of a car seat or restraint system, young children can be violently thrown around in an accident and sustain serious — even fatal — injuries. In some situations, school buses use child restraint systems to keep young children safe. These systems need to be maintained and updated to ensure they are in good working order for the children who rely on them.
Following a bus accident, there may be some question about the safety of these car seats. As many people know, the integrity of a car seat can be compromised in a car accident. Therefore, child restraint devices often need to be replaced after a collision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, therefore, has guidelines about when these restraint systems need replaced in school busses to keep young children safety.
According to the NHTSA, following a severe or moderate bus accident, all child restraint systems on the bus need to be replaced. This ensures that the children using these car seats remain safe. However, if the bus accident was only minor, then the systems do not automatically have to be replaced.
In order for an accident to be minor, the NHTSA says that five criteria must be met. If any one of these is not met, then the school bus accident is not considered minor and the restraint systems must be replaced.
First, there cannot be visible damage to the systems. Second, if the bus has air bags, they cannot have been deployed in the accident. Third, the children who were on the bus at the time of the accident cannot have suffered any injuries. Other occupants on the bus when it crashed must not have serious injuries. Fourth, the space inside the bus around the restraint systems must not have any damage. Finally, the school bus must have been driven away from the crash scene.
It is a school buses job to keep kids safe. When people are injured in a school bus accident, legal action might be necessary. An attorney can help people understand their rights to compensation.