Sen. Hutchison Wins Passage of Landmark Bus Safety Bill

March 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) today applauded the passage of the bipartisan bill, The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011, introduced by Senators Hutchison and Sherrod Brown.  The landmark legislation will dramatically improve bus and motorcoach safety standards. 

“Too many lives have been wasted in tragedies that are entirely preventable because of poor bus safety standards.   Basic safety standards, such as requiring seat belts, driver training, and strengthening safety inspections, will go a long way in making our roads safer for everyone – not just bus occupants,” Senator Hutchison said.  “We have waited too long to make changes to federal law that will save lives.  I’m pleased to see my colleagues work together to pass a solution to a major problem affecting our roads.”

The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011 will require the Department of Transportation to make much-needed upgrades to federal safety standards for motorcoaches, increase driver operating standards and training requirements, and implement important safety-enhancing technologies. The bill passed as part of the Surface Transportation bill, S. 1813.

Specifically, this bipartisan bill, The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act, would require:

  • Safety belts and compartmentalized seating systems to ensure occupants have the capability to 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.
  • 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 set standards for driver physical fitness, and a medical certificate process to ensure that all certificates are valid and unqualified operators are rejected.
  • Strengthened motorcoach vehicle safety inspections including roadside inspections, safety audits, and state and motor carrier programs for identifying vehicle defects.