Commercial buses play a valuable role throughout the nation, including in Northern California. While using a bus to get from one point to another is statistically one of the safest forms of transportation, as is the case in any type of motor vehicle accident, accidents involving buses can result in devastating injuries. As recent bus accidents illustrate, sometimes even death. Each year an average of 19 people, who are on buses, die in crashes each year throughout the country.
In an effort to try to reduce the number of these fatal accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues rules regarding safety for vehicles regulated by the federal government, such as commercial buses. Currently, it is working to improve the safety of these types of vehicles. Included in the improvements are regulations pertaining to the evacuation of the vehicle when an emergency situation arises, fire safety and ways to improve the structural integrity of the vehicle.
Another matter in which regulation is expected to be finalized by the NHTSA regards the requirement that seat belts be included in all commercial buses going forward. The proposed rule, which the agency has been considering for over 35 years, is expected to save up to eight people from death each year.
The price tag for this is not cheap. At the rate of $13,000 per bus, it will cost approximately $25 million each year. At this point, it is not expected that buses already on the roads will have to install seat belts.
Of course seat belts are standard in cars throughout the nation and in some states, despite state laws mandating their use, there are still many occasions where passengers fail to buckle up. While the federal government cannot make passengers use them, the thought is if they are available, they will be used. Most would agree that is a good thing.
Source: Detroit News, “Feds finalizing new rules that include bus seat belts,” David Shepardson, Jan. 17, 2013