WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today questioned Anne Ferro, President Obama’s nominee to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, on the need to improve the nation’s bus safety standards. Earlier this year, Senator Hutchison introduced legislation to overhaul and dramatically increase the safety of buses to reduce deaths and serious injuries caused by accidents. The bill, the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2009 (S. 554), is also sponsored by Senator Sharrod Brown (D-Ohio).
“Not enough has been done to address the safety of the nation’s bus transportation system, even after several tragic accidents in Texas that claimed multiple lives,” said Senator Hutchison. “It is time for Congress to act now. We introduced legislation earlier this year to strengthen equipment safety standards and driver qualifications because motorcoaches are an important part of our passenger transportation system. In Texas, they are vital to evacuating people from the coast when hurricanes are imminent and are an affordable transportation option for millions of Americans. Our Committee has a proud record of promoting the safety of the traveling public, and I urge the Chairman to make this issue a top priority.”
The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2009 (S. 554) would require:
- Safety belts and stronger seating systems to ensure occupants stay in their seats in a crash;
- Anti-ejection glazing on windows to prevent passengers from being easily thrown outside the motorcoach;
- Strong, crush-resistant roofs that can withstand rollovers;
- Improved protection against fires by reducing flammability of the motorcoach interior, and better training for operators in the case of fire;
- Improved commercial driver training (currently, no training is required by federal regulation); and
- Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) with real-time capabilities to track precise vehicle location, and recorded data not accessible to manipulation by a driver or motor carrier.
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