Atlanta Bus Crash Revives Seatbelt Debate

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A lawyer who has handled numerous catastrophic bus and truck accidents points to the recent March 2, 2007, college baseball team's bus crash as proof that school buses and motorcoaches should be equipped with lap/shoulder belts.

A lawyer who has handled numerous catastrophic bus and truck accidents points to the recent March 2, 2007, college baseball team's bus crash as proof that school buses and motorcoaches should be equipped with lap/shoulder belts.

According to personal injury attorney Anita Porte Robb of the ROBB & ROBB LLC law firm in Kansas City, Missouri, the 2000 Van Hool motorcoach involved in the Atlanta crash was not equipped with lap or shoulder belts. Presumably, injuries and fatalities occurred when students and coaches were ejected from their seats during the impact. "These buses without lap and shoulder belts do not provide adequate occupant protection, particularly in accidents involving lateral collision or rollover," Ms. Robb said.

Ms. Robb, a leading Missouri bus crash lawyer and truck accident attorney is handling cases (Gleason, et al v. Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, et al Consolidated Case No.: 7CV105004627, Seventh Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri, Circuit Court of Clay County) arising out of the catastrophic Liberty, Missouri school bus accident which occurred in May of 2005, killing two and injuring many, including two students who suffered serious brain and spinal cord injury. Lawsuits filed in that case alleged that the failure of the bus to have seatbelts contributed to the severity of the children's injuries, which occurred when they were ejected from their seats and projected violently within the bus during impact.

According to Ms. Robb, various states have passed or proposed legislation requiring seatbelts on school buses. Such legislation has been passed in New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, and Louisiana. A school bus safety task force in Missouri recently recommended lap/shoulder belts on that state's buses, and legislation to require lap/shoulder belt equipment in Missouri has been proposed.

Various organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Center for Auto Safety have endorsed lap and shoulder belts on buses, Robb says. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study in 2002 stated that lap/shoulder belt systems could enhance the safety of bus passengers.

ABOUT ROBB & ROBB LLC: ROBB & ROBB LLC was founded in 1984 by Anita Porte Robb and Gary C. Robb. Over the last 20 years, the firm has handled many precedent-setting, important, high-profile and complex personal injury and wrongful death cases involving catastrophic bus and truck accidents, and aviation crashes. Ms. Robb's 1997 wrongful death lawsuit against a school bus manufacturer resulted in a $14 million settlement, which remains the highest pre-trial cash settlement for wrongful death from a bus crash in U.S. history. In 2001, the National Law Journal recognized Ms. Robb as one of the top ten women trial lawyers in the country. Last year, Lawyers USA recognized her as one of five "Women Lawyers of Note" nationwide.

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