Senators Announce Key Industry Support for Bus Safety Bill

July 14, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) today held a press conference to urge their colleagues to support passage of the bipartisan bill, Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011, introduced by Senators Hutchison and Brown.  Greyhound CEO, David Leach, was also at the press conference to announce his company’s support of this important legislation.

“I applaud Greyhound for their commitment to passenger safety and I hope others will follow their lead on this critical issue.  Congress must move forward on passing this bipartisan legislation before more lives are wasted in tragedies that are entirely preventable,” Senator Hutchison said.

“Greyhound’s endorsement shows that safety measures are good for consumers and for industry,” Brown said. “By filling the major safety shortfalls that have plagued many tour bus operations for too long, we can ensure better protection systems for occupants and stronger passenger safety standards.”

“Americans should not have to fear for their safety when traveling our nation’s roadways,” Senator Rockefeller said.  “One life lost is one too many, that is why Congress must act now to pass our bipartisan legislation to make bus travel safer and more secure for the travelling public.”

"We're determined to make buses safer and Greyhound’s support is proof of the progress we are making,” said Lautenberg, Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation.  "Making buses safe is good for business and the right thing to do.  Millions of Americans ride on buses that lack basic safety features, and this year the Northeast region felt the consequences of several deadly crashes.  Bus companies can discount prices, but they can’t discount safety.  This bill will take important steps to make buses safer and protect passengers."

“I am pleased to announce Greyhound’s support forthe Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act, which will lead to substantial safety improvements in the manufacture and operation of motorcoaches.  Greyhound has already built many of these improvements, such as seat belts and safer seats, into its new buses, and we believe that such improvements should be adopted industry-wide,” said David Leach, CEO of Greyhound Lines, Inc.  “MESA also provides the tools that federal regulators need to keep unsafe motorcoach operators off the road. I congratulate Senator Hutchison and Senator Brown for introducing and refining MESA and for their unceasing commitment to the cause of motorcoach safety. I also commend Senator Rockefeller and Senator Lautenberg for their leadership in moving the bill expeditiously through the Senate Commerce Committee.”

“Research shows that the average cost of the safety improvements contained in the motorcoach bill amounts to a mere 10 cents per ride.  Who wouldn’t pay a dime for essential, lifesaving protection in a serious motorcoach crash?” said Joan Claybrook, Advocates’ Consumer Co-Chair and former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  “Surely, those who travel our nation by motorcoach deserve the same federal safety protections and industry oversight as those who travel by airplane or train.” 

Brown and Hutchison’s Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act would require:

  • Safety belts and compartmentalized seating systems to ensure occupants stay in their seats in a crash.
  • Anti-ejection window glazing to prevent passengers from being ejected from the motorcoach in a crash.
  • Strong, crush-resistant roofs that can withstand rollovers.
  • Electronic stability control systems that will help prevent rollover accidents, similar to technology that is now standard on almost all new cars.
  • Classroom and behind-the-wheel training for motorcoach operators. Currently, no such training is required by federal regulation.
  • Improved oversight of the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners that will ensure driver physical fitness, and a medical certificate process to ensure that all certificates are valid and no unqualified operator is allowed to drive.
  • Strengthened motorcoach vehicle safety inspections including roadside inspections, safety audits, and state and motor carrier programs for identifying vehicle defects.