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June 7th, 2012

Bus Safety Bill Clears U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate has approved a key piece of bus safety legislation  that would tighten requirements for bus drivers as well as motor coach companies. The bill had been introduced after a deadly bus crash in Atlanta in 2007 that killed seven people.

The bill is the brainchild of Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. The legislation would include, among other things, the incorporation of safety belts into bus design, as well as stronger seating systems that would reduce the risk of injuries to occupants during accidents. The legislation also calls for more advanced training for bus drivers, and the installation of anti-ejection glazing windows, which reduce the risk of ejections.

The inspiration for the legislation was the Bluffton University bus accident in Atlanta 2007 that killed seven people. The bus driver in that case drove the vehicle onto an exit ramp by mistake. By the time he realized his error, it was too late, and the bus crashed through the barrier wall. It fell onto the highway below. Five baseball players of the Bluffton University team died in the accident. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the accident on driver errors and poor signals.

Bus safety is a particular area of concern for Texas bus accident attorneys. The state has seen more than its share of bus accidents recently, many of them resulting in fatalities and injuries. In 2009, a bus carrying Vietnamese pilgrims to a Christian retreat crashed near Sherman, Texas killing 17 passengers and injuring dozens. Many of those deaths were blamed on the lack of seatbelts in the bus.

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