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Bus Crash in Old Bridge: Require Seat Belts? [POLL/AUDIO/VIDEO]

More than a dozen people on a New York City-bound commuter bus were injured when it collided with a school bus on Route 9 in Old Bridge during the Thursday morning commute. The Academy bus was holding 30 to 35 passengers, none of whom were wearing seat belts.

The only protection the passengers could rely on was themselves, as no state or federal law mandates that commercial lines provide seat belts for users.

Rescue crews working on the drivers side of the Academy Bus
Rescue crews working with the Academy Bus involved in Thursday morning’s crash on Route 9 in Old Bridge (WNYW TV)

“(Seat belts) might have helped people not get hurt as bad,” said Old Bridge resident Wanda Morone, whose power went out for a brief period following the crash.

Morone said her fiance was forced to stand on his bus ride home from work Wednesday night.

“How dangerous would that have been if they crashed?” she asked.

According to Raymond Martinez, chairman of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, there are no current efforts on a state or national level to implement a seat belt requirement on commercial buses.

The U.S. government proposed a requirement in 2010 for new commercial buses, but it never became a permanent regulation.

Martinez said federal action would make the most sense for such a law.

“It obviously becomes much more complicated when buses travel from one state to another,” added Martinez.

Seat belts have been required on New Jersey school buses for years. Two adults were inside the school bus that flipped on its side and landed on the generator for the Stratford Apartments. The driver and aide exited the bus through the emergency hatch, virtually unharmed.

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