Sensible Rules to Make Bus Travel Safer


Sensible Rules to Make Bus Travel Safer

New York Times – Three major bus accidents in the Northeast, including the horrific crash on Interstate 95 in the Bronx that killed 15 passengers and critically injured several others, may finally spur Congress to mandate bus safety improvements.

A bipartisan measure to require seat belts, roofs that can withstand a rollover, better windows to prevent passenger ejection in crashes, and other vital safety steps was introduced in the Senate by Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas. The bill, which covers interstate motor coaches, also has new and more stringent requirements for driver fitness and bus company oversight to root out irresponsible operators. A companion bill is pending in the House.

A nearly identical bill died at the close of last year when Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, imposed a hold on the legislation. Early Senate approval, with strong bipartisan support, may even embarrass the regulation-hostile House into acting.

The Department of Transportation is already preparing rules that will require buses to have seat belts and electronic recorders to replace easily falsified paper records of driver hours. Some companies have begun voluntarily adopting safety enhancements. Yet, having Congress require a reasonable set of changes, with a clear timetable, is the best way to ensure the reforms.

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