Buckle Up on Buses

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Buckle Up on Buses

New York Times – The curbside bus industry has become a booming inter-city phenomenon offering cheap fares in hard times — but also a crash fatality rate seven times that of mainline carriers based in terminals, where maintenance and safety checks are more common.
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Curbside companies too often “reincarnate” themselves under different names after running up dangerous safety citations. They also suffer greater driver fatigue and higher crash rates than conventional carriers, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Federal safety experts first proposed 43 years ago that seat belts be mandatory on all interstate buses. Congress still has not acted, despite all of the statistics that show that most fatalities result from passengers’ being ejected from the bus in rollovers.

Congress vowed to tackle the issue after a horrific accident last March in New York, in which 15 passengers were killed and 18 injured on a trip home from a casino. The driver was indicted for manslaughter and the bus line shut down, yet the owner continued offering service through his other companies. Since then, there have been five other crashes nationally involving curbside carriers, leaving 22 dead and 159 injured.

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