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Aging and Dangerous Tires on School Buses

Posted on February 16, 2015

Traveling by school bus is widely considered the safest way to transport your child to school. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 58 percent of student fatalities involve teen drivers, 23 percent of students killed in car accidents are traveling with an adult driver and only one percent of students killed are traveling by school bus. School buses are designed to be safe for students and they can often absorb a collision without causing much of a disturbance to the passengers. However, many of our school buses are old and are in need of inspections, repairs and replacement.

There have been a number of investigations lately regarding the age and quality of school bus tires. Some buses are carrying our children on tires that are more than 10 years old. Tire aging is a real problem and tire defects resulting from age are not easy to detect. When school bus tires reach a certain age, they can begin to break down from the inside. For this reason, tire manufacturers warn that tires should be replaced after 10 years. Many safety experts say, however, that a tire should be replaced after six years, regardless of the appearance.

Despite the clear and present danger presented by old, aging tires, there is no nationwide tire-aging standard. Many states do not have laws that require schools to update their tires either.  In 2014, NHTSA decided not to seek a federal safety standard based on tire age. Instead, schools are required to inspect tires for tread depth, tire condition, and tire inflation. These are the only conditions considered during a typical school bus inspection in Florida, but are they enough?

Every effort should be made to protect our children as they travel to school. Some old school bus tires have years of use left, but others are ticking time bombs that could fail at any moment. These old tires must be removed before they fail and cause a bus full of Florida children to veer out of control. If your child has been hurt in a bus crash, please contact an experienced Florida bus accident lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.