Among the new laws going into effect this year is one dealing with the use of seatbelts on buses. Effective July 1, 2018, any passenger 16 years or older riding a bus equipped with seatbelts must buckle up.
The law also requires parents of children between 8 and 16 to make sure their children use seatbelts if provided while riding a bus. However, the law does not apply to school buses.
As for children under 8 years old, and under 4 feet 9 inches in height, parents must make sure they are “acceptably restrained by a safety belt” while on a bus if the bus is so equipped. If it is not possible to do so, the child must be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system.
If the child is under 2, they may be held by a parent or guardian.
Obviously, the legislature and governor believe that wearing a seatbelt promotes safety. This belief is supported by a number of studies.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) in 2015, seatbelt use saved an estimated 13,941 lives. Also, of the 35,092 people killed nationwide in motor vehicle accidents that year, 48% were not wearing seatbelts.
In addition, according to NHTSA, seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injuries in an accident by 45% and of moderate to critical injury by 50%. These numbers clearly point toward the benefit of seatbelt use.
I know from my own experience handling hundreds of motor vehicle injury cases in Sacramento, Stockton, and Modesto that people who wear seatbelts are less likely to be ejected from their vehicles in a crash. They are also less likely to strike objects inside their vehicles, such as the dashboard, windshield or other occupants.
Whether you are riding a bus down Watt Avenue in Sacramento, are a passenger in a car on March Lane in Stockton, or driving your car on Briggsmore Avenue in Modesto, it makes sense to always “buckle up.”