November 22, 2014

Bus safety bills introduced in House, Senate

WASHINGTON — Bipartisan legislation to improve motorcoach safety has been introduced in the House and Senate.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) jointly introduced S. 453, the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act, which is co-sponsored by Senators Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

In the House, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) has introduced identical legislation, H.R. 873.

The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act would:

  • Require safety belts and stronger seating systems to ensure occupants stay in their seats in a crash.
  • Require improved commercial driver training. Currently, no training is required by federal regulation.
  • Require anti-ejection glazing windows to prevent passengers from being easily thrown outside the motorcoach.
  • Require strong, crush-resistant roofs that can withstand rollovers.
  • Require improved protection against fires by reducing flammability of the motorcoach interior.
  • Require better training for operators in the event of fire.
  • Create a national commercial motor vehicle medical registry to ensure only medically qualified examiners conduct physical examinations of drivers.
  • Require a medical certificate process to ensure that all certificates are valid and no unqualified operator is allowed to drive.
  • Strengthen motorcoach vehicle safety inspections, including roadside inspections, safety audits, and state and motor carrier programs for identifying vehicle defects.
  • Require electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) with real-time capabilities to track precise vehicle location that cannot be tampered with by the driver.

The American Bus Association reports that there are more than 720 million passenger trips by motorcoach annually, and bus travel has outpaced air and rail as the fastest growing mode of passenger transportion.

To view text of the legislation, click on the following links:

H.R. 873: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr873ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr873ih.pdf

S. 453: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s453is/pdf/BILLS-112s453is.pdf