After two fatal bus accidents this spring involving commercial tour buses, lawmakers and regulators are taking action to improve the safety of buses.
In early March, a World Wide Travels tour bus crashed in New York killing nearly half of its passengers. Although the cause of the accident is still under investigation, some reports indicate the driver fell asleep behind the wheel. Just days after the New York accident, a Super Luxury Tours bus crashed in New Jersey. Both carriers had previously been cited for numerous violations.
Public outcry regarding the incidents prompted Congress to convene hearings on the issue of bus safety. Lawmakers ultimately criticized the Department of Transportation for its lack of progress on bus safety reform.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a forum earlier this month as part of the federal agency's response to Congressional concerns about progress in this area. During the two-day event, safety stakeholders discussed various topics, including driver safety, crash mitigation, carrier oversight and crash avoidance technologies. In addition to other proposed reforms, the NTSB recommended technological safety improvements including adaptive cruise control, warning systems and electronic stability controls.
The federal government has proposed stricter regulations for tour bus companies and similar carriers. Tighter commercial driver's license requirements, bus safety audits, improved enforcement powers and stiffer penalties are all potential changes. Still pending approval is another regulation requiring seat belts for new buses.
Hopefully increased regulation will prevent similar bus accidents from happening in the future and result in safer roads for all motorists.
Source: LaHood outlines new bus safety measures