More than four decades after the National Traffic Safety board recommended the change, the Obama Administration has taken steps to require that all commercial buses come equipped with seat belts for all passengers.
The rule may change after being examined by the public and others, but the government hopes that the rule will be approved this winter and go into effect some time in 2011.
This new rule comes after a number of deadly bus, Greyhound, and coach crashes – the two most alarming of which took place in Texas over the past few years. In 2005, a busload of Hurricane Rita evacuees were involved in a fiery crash in Wilmer that killed 23 people. In 2008, a rollover bus crash in Sherman, Texas, killed 17 and injured many more when a tire blew out and the bus left the road.
While some of the bus crash fatalities over the past few years were not related to the presence of seat belts, many were. In the Sherman crash, many of the passengers were killed when the bus rolled over multiple times, throwing a number of passengers from the vehicle and slamming others against the roof of the bus.
United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson has tried twice to make commercial bus seat belts a federal law, but powerful bus company lobbyists have blocked her efforts on both occasions. Now however, some lobbyists say that they would support a new seatbelt law, as long as there was science to prove that bus seatbelts saved lives.