Bus company held accountable for not having seatbelts

Passengers who were injured when a bus slid off an embankment and rolled over several times could hold the bus company liable for not installing seatbelts, New York’s highest court recently decided.

The court upheld a jury’s verdict ordering the company to pay damages to the passengers because it was careless and didn’t do enough to protect them.

The bus company argued that federal regulations require seatbelts only for bus drivers…not passengers. Therefore, it said, it didn’t have a legal obligation to provide belts for passengers.

But the court noted that the federal regulations didn’t prohibit seatbelts for passengers. The bus company could certainly have installed seatbelts without violating the federal rules, it said.

Therefore, the company could be held liable if it didn’t fulfill its legal responsibility to provide for the passengers’ safety…which is what the jury decided happened here.