Seat belt rule another step in motorcoach passenger safety
For more than half a century, seat belts have been commonplace in cars, and they have saved thousands of lives and prevented millions of injuries. Now, thanks to a final rule from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts will be saving lives and preventing injuries in America's motorcoaches, too.
NHTSA's rule requires lap and shoulder seat belts for every passenger and driver seat on newly manufactured motorcoaches and other large buses by November 2016. The rule will improve road safety by reducing the risk of death and serious injury in frontal crashes and lowering the risk of occupant ejection in rollover crashes.
As Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro said, “Buckling up is the most effective way to prevent deaths and injuries in all vehicular crashes, including motorcoaches."
Historically, traveling by motorcoach has been a safe form of transportation. But because a large bus can carry many occupants, a crash poses greater potential for injury and loss of life. With safety as our highest priority, DOT wants to reduce that potential risk.
On average each year, 21 motorcoach and large bus occupants are killed and 7,934 are injured in crashes. Requiring lap and shoulder safety belts in motorcoaches could reduce fatalities by up to 44 percent and reduce the number of moderate-to-severe injuries by up to 45 percent.
As NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Adding seat belts to motorcoaches increases safety for all passengers and drivers.”
Some carriers--like Greyhound and Megabus--have already been out in front of this rule, setting an example for the industry by voluntarily giving their passengers the extra protection that safety belts provide. They understand that increased passenger safety goes hand-in-hand with their bottom line.
The new rule is just one part of our ongoing effort to improve bus passenger safety. Other recent steps include motorcoach and driver inspection strike forces and increased enforcement efforts. To see what else we've been doing to protect motorcoach passengers, you can read the Department's Motorcoach Safety Action Plan here.