A Transportation Subcommittee chaired by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) held a Hearing to consider recommendations to improve bus safety.
The recommendations, which came after two serious bus accidents last month, include putting seat belts on buses, equipping buses with stronger roofs and windows, requiring onboard devices to monitor driver fatigue, and improving government oversight of bus companies.
Many feel that the accidents that occurred last month resulted from safety compromises and shortcuts within the bus industry.
Super Luxury Tours, the bus company involved in the NJ Turnpike crash that took place last month, has since had its interstate operating authority suspended by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration pending completion of the investigation of the circumstances and cause of the accident.
Two days earlier, another bus traveling from Foxwoods Casino to NYC had a more serious accident in the Bronx, killing 15 passengers. Less well known was a bus crash on March 21 in New Hampshire which injured nearly 25 people who were travelling from Quebec to Boston.
Those who questioned the suggestions presented at the Hearing said that many of them are already in place. There were also questions about the potential cost of implementing the safety measures. Estimates coming out of the Hearing suggested that it would cost $13,000 to $15,000 to equip buses with seat belts, as well as another $75,000 per bus to meet the other safety recommendations.
Source: Jersey Journal, “U.S. Sen. Lautenberg heads hearing on recommendations to improve safety of tour buses,” Mike Frassinelli, 30 Mar 2011.
Update: I checked with my experts in bus seating and the cost to retrofit a bus for seatbelts is about $30,000.
Jerry A. Casser, Esq. – Fairfield, NJ Transportation Law Attorney -www.jcasser.com