Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) September 9, 2014 — The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new regulations that aim to reduce injuries and fatalities caused to passengers in rollover bus crashes.
The new proposal focuses on the structural integrity of large buses. To meet the new standard, the emergency exits of a bus must remain operable after a rollover, and the space around passengers must not collapse so much that passengers cannot survive in the remaining space.
“Companies that provide commercial bus and motorcoach transportation are ultimately responsible for the safety of their passengers,” remarked David Lietz, a transportation accident attorney. “One would hope that these companies would voluntarily hold their vehicles to this standard, but unfortunately, some companies continue to put profit ahead of safety.”
The NHTSA has long debated requiring seat belts on motorcoaches and large buses, but many experts argue that seat belts would not actually provide a significant benefit. Limited seat belt requirements for new buses were to go into effect this year but have been delayed.
The NHTSA projects that the new structural regulations for buses and motorcoaches will save lives and prevent injuries. The agency is also planning to create a requirement for vehicle stability technology, which would help to prevent rollovers from occurring in the first place.
Because of the serious risks that motorcoach and large bus accidents pose to passengers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) urges travelers to evaluate the safety of a bus company and driver before taking a trip. The FMCA has a publicly available rating system and rates most major carriers.
The NHTSA recently released a report estimating that more than 12,000 bus passengers were killed or injured in 2012
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