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Seat belt use prevented injury for Allentown school bus passengers

These blogs are posted on behalf of Hof & Reid LLC, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the firm or its attorneys. The information presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.

A potential disaster was recently avoided when a school bus and police car collided in Allentown. Fortunately, none of the young preschool age children on the bus were hurt in the motor vehicle accident.

While none of the young passengers were injured, the bus driver and the police officer operating the cruiser did sustain injuries. Both were transported to St. Luke's Hospital-Fountain Hill.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident. A preliminary statement by police indicates the police car struck the school bus. The police car was reportedly on a "routine patrol" and not engaged in an emergency response call.

School officials believe that the reason the children were not injured in the crash was due to the fact that they were all wearing five-point safety harnesses. The five-point safety harnesses used on the bus are similar to harnesses used in children's car seats. Nevertheless, while this is a wonderful example of how safety belts can often prevent severe injury or even save lives, it is important to understand that no safety device can render passengers immune to injury at the hands of a negligent driver.

This case is especially relevant for Pennsylvania parents in that while more and more school buses are now equipped with seat belts, not all buses provide them.

In this type of high-visibility, potentially complex motor vehicle accident, many questions will be asked by the families of the injured victims and young passengers. It is important to understand from the very beginning the relevance of thorough and immediate investigation, as this type of case is often subject to intense scrutiny -- and potentially legal dispute as to which individual or organization is ultimately responsible.

Source: The Morning Call, "Allentown: Police car and school bus collide," Tracy Jordan, March 27, 2012

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