Bus seat belt laws in limbo 45 years later
WASHINGTON — When a drunken driver on a California highway slammed into a bus carrying passengers to Las Vegas, killing 19, investigators said a lack of seat belts contributed to the high death toll.
But 45 years later, safety advocates are waiting for the government to act on seat belts and measures to protect bus passengers.
During the years, the National Transportation Safety Board has repeated its call for seat belts or some other means to keep passengers in their seats during crashes involving the large buses used for tours, charters and intercity passenger service. About half of all such motorcoach fatalities are the result of rollovers, and about 70 percent of those killed in rollover accidents were ejected from the bus.
The board has repeatedly recommended stronger windows that don't pop out from the force of a collision and help keep passengers from being ejected, and roofs that withstand crushing. Those recommendations are almost as old as the seat belt recommendation. No requirements have been put in place, even though all have long been standard safety features in cars.
Hundreds of motorcoach passengers have died, and even more have been injured, many severely, since the board made its initial recommendations.
In 2009, the safety board said government inaction was partly responsible for the severity of injuries in a rollover crash near Mexican Hat, Utah, which killed 9 skiers and injured 43. Then-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood promised the department would act to improve motorcoach safety, including requiring seat belts.
Last year, when that hadn't happened, Congress wrapped bus safety improvements into a larger transportation bill, which was signed into law. Regulations requiring seat belts on new buses were due in September, but are under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Regulations on windows and roofs are due by Sept. 30, but safety advocates said they doubt the government will meet that deadline because it is less than a year away and regulations haven't been proposed.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Authorities raid home of Subway spokesman Jared Fogle
- F-16, small plane collide in midair over South Carolina
- In 2005, Cosby said he got drugs to give women for sex
- Senante begins new debate on federal role for schools
- Austin police kill gunman in slaying in hotel lobby
- Disguise aids $75K robbery of Oklahoma Wal-Mart store
- Texas wants its gold back in the state’s borders
- South Carolina Senate backs removing Confederate batte flag from Statehouse grounds
- Wild Walk gives treetop view of New York forest
- Heavy storms blast Kansas City area
- Idaho wildfire destroys homes, prompts hundreds to evacuate