Another accident involving a commercial bus took the lives of six people and injured many more. The wreck occured shortly after 2am this morning on Highway 99 in Fresno, California. Of the 47 passengers on board, about 30 were injured and 6 died, including the bus driver.

This tragedy brings to light several previous accidents involving Greyhound buses where individuals died or were severely injured as a result of its failure to equip its buses with seatbelts. Although the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been recommending the installation of seatbelts on buses since the 1960s, companies like Greyhound have simply refused to act.

One of our attorneys, Stuart Talley, is all too familiar with Greyhound’s resistance to the seatbelt issue.  He deposed a Greyhound representative in 2005, when another Greyhound accident resulted in serious injuries of 8 passengers near Williams, California.  Talley found that Greyhound had very little justification for their refusal to install seatbelts, other than to state that the Federal Government didn’t mandate seatbelts for their buses.

Here are some important facts about seat belts on buses:

  • Over the past 30 years the NTSB has issued multiple recommendations that buses be equipped with passenger seat belts.
  • Since the early 90s, seatbelts have been required on all buses operating in Europe and Australia and have saved countless lives.
  • Of the 60 serious bus accidents investigated by the NTSB over the past 30 years, 11 involved Greyhound buses. In those accidents, 47 people died and more than 250 were injured. Despite this, Greyhound did nothing to research or examine the issue of whether seatbelts should be installed on its buses.
  • Although the technology available to equip buses with seatbelts has been available since the early 90s., Greyhound waited until 2008 to request that its buses be equipped with seatbelts. Six months later, it began receiving buses with seatbelts. However, only new buses will have seatbelts and none of its older buses are being retrofitted.
  • The extra cost to Greyhound of purchasing buses with seatbelts is only $20,000 per bus. It only cost $30,000 to retrofit existing buses with seatbelts.
  • Despite these minor costs, Greyhound has refused to retrofit its buses.

The simple use of seatbelts would prevent unnecessary injury and death in accidents such as these.

“It’s common sense. Everybody knows that seatbelts save lives,” says Talley.

Do you think Greyhound should install seatbelts in their buses?  Should our government enact new legislation to enforce seatbelts on buses?  Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!

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