Yesterday, a transportation subcommittee chaired by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) held a hearing to consider recommendations to improve bus safety.
The recommendations, which come after two disastrous commercial bus accidents earlier this 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 earlier this month resulted from safety compromises and shortcuts within the commercial bus industry.
We have previously written on this blog about the poor safety record of Super Luxury Tours, the bus company responsible for the New Jersey Turnpike crash that took place earlier this month. The company has since been put out of service and suspended for violating insurance requirements. The crash is still under investigation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Along with the Turnpike crash, two days earlier, another charter bus crashed in the Bronx, killing 15 passengers. Less well known was a bus crash on March 21 which injured nearly 25 Korean Nationals who were travelling from Quebec to Boston
Those who question 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 busses 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.