ATLANTA -- Although the shuttle van that crashed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airporthad seat belts, they are not required by law and police say nobody had them on.
But a new law, passed in the Georgia House but still awaiting action in the Georgia State Senate, could change that.
It would up the number of passengers in a vehicle where seat belts are required from the current 10 to 15. That would have been enough to have made seat belts mandatory in the shuttle van that crashed at Hartsfield-Jackson.
"There is no question that the injuries we saw were a function of people not having seat belts on and falling, and probably falling on top of each other," said Dr. Leon Haley, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Grady Hospital, who was in the Emergency Room when crash victims were brought in.
"My personal opinion is that seat belts ought to be required in any moving vehicle that is going to travel up to a medium or high rate of speed, no question about it, because the injuries that can come from that form a potential accident are significant," Haley added.
It's an opinion shared by Lore Mahon, a nurse, a rider on the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport shuttle.
"I think it should be mandatory on every single vehicle everywhere that you should have seat belts," she said.
"I don't think it makes sense. For me it's a no-brainer," added Isatow Conatech, another shuttle passenger.
"I think it's a good idea to wear them, as accidents do happen. Just in case they do, it's better to be safe rather than sorry," said Robert Bailey, as he boarded the airport shuttle.
Until the Georgia Legislature acts, the hands of shuttle operators are tied. They can only ask passengers to wear a seat belt, they can't enforce it.