It was in March 2007 that a tour bus carrying the Bluffton University baseball team crashed in Atlanta. Without seatbelts required in Europe and Austrailia, but not in the US, there were unnecessary deaths. Working on that case was an education.
Now the National Transportation Safety Board has issued a report hammering the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failure to implement recommendations to require seatbelts and stronger roofs and windows on buses. The NTSB has been prodding NHTSA to enact those suggestions for a decade.
According to an article by Sholln Freeman in the Washington Post, the NTSB was also critical of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for lax driver medical certification procedures. Fortunately, however, the FMCSA has issued a new rule to tighten medical certification rules going forward. It’s a step in the right direction.
However, no apparent progress has been made on bringing bus safety standards up to world standards. Buses manufactured in Europe and sold in the US come without seatbelts as standard equipment. The same bus sold in Turkey, for example, has seatbelts.
Ken Shigley is a trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale), and is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He served as chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Litigation Institute, is on the National Advisory Board for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education programs for the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice. Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, spinal cord injury, brain injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.