Senate committee votes to require belts on commercial buses

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Senate committee votes to require belts on commercial buses

The Detroit News – Washington — A Senate committee today unanimously approved legislation that would require safety belts, anti-rollover technology and stronger roofs on commercial buses.

The rules wouldn't apply to school buses. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee endorsed the bill on a voice vote. It was sponsored by Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and would overhaul the nation's commercial bus regulations in the face of a string of serious accidents.

Annually, Americans take more than 700 million trips in motorcoaches — as many as U.S. commercial airlines carry. Today, nearly 3,700 interstate motorcoach companies operate more than 34,000 commercial buses.

"Studies show that key safety improvements, such as requiring seat belts and stronger crush-resistant roof standards that allow motor coaches to better withstand rollovers, can dramatically improve bus safety," Hutchison said. "The bill would also help stop 'reincarnated' carriers that are taken out of service and then quickly begin operating under a new name."

Ohio and Texas have had multi-death bus accidents.

"We cannot wait until motor coaches are on the road to worry about safety; we need to do so before they are built. By equipping buses with seatbelts, stronger roofs and safer windows, we can prevent deaths and minimize injuries," Brown said. "With bus ridership increasing, it's more important than ever to pass this legislation."

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