Note: This was proposed in December 2009 – apparently nothing has happened and the Agency is awaiting comment from the industry and other interested persons.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to propose rulemaking early next year to require seat belts on motorcoaches.
The DOT has released its Motorcoach Safety Action Plan, which lays out concrete steps for improving motorcoach safety issues such as driver fatigue and inattention, vehicle rollover, occupant ejections and oversight of unsafe carriers.
The comprehensive action plan proposes enhanced regulatory oversight of new and high risk motorcoach operators, as well as the increased use of new technologies. To address driver distraction, it proposes to initiate rulemaking to prohibit texting and limit the use of cell phones and other devices by motorcoach drivers.
It also discusses requiring electronic on-board recording devices on all motorcoaches to better monitor drivers’ duty hours to address fatigue, and enhanced oversight of unsafe carriers.
In addition, the action plan proposes to better protect motorcoach occupants by requiring the installation of seat belts and discusses additional measures such as the establishment of performance requirements for enhanced roof strength, fire safety and emergency egress. It also calls for safety improvements using technologies such as electronic stability control to prevent rollovers.
We’ll keep on top of these issues and let you know as soon as something has been approved. In the meantime, if you have specific questions on safety issues, please feel free to contact our firm. There is a Contact Me link for my Website to the right of this Article and you can email your questions.
Jerry A. Casser – Fairfield, NJ Transportation Law Attorney - www.jcasser.com