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July 3, 2013

Calif. lawmaker introduces motorcoach safety bill

A California lawmaker, Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) introduced motorcoach legislation that would update safety standards for newly manufactured motorcoach vehicles while giving more power to law enforcement to inspect them.

“Local law enforcement is currently prohibited from inspecting passenger buses known to have a history of poor vehicle maintenance,” said Negrete McLeod. “Most safety requirements are carried out by self-enforcement, leaving local law enforcement officers unable to adequately police negligent companies on the road. My bill would remedy this issue while creating safety standards aimed at better protecting consumers.”

A recent bus crash on Highway 38 killed eight people near San Bernardino, Calif., as a result of brake failure despite the company’s known record of poor vehicle maintenance.

This legislation, the Motorcoach Safety, Accountability and Technology Act, was developed in consultation with the National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation of the San Bernardino bus crash, and has been endorsed by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, according to Negrete McLeod.

The Motorcoach Safety bill would more specifically:

  • Require the U.S. Department of Transportation to review pre-trip inspection procedures for brake adjustment and issue a new rule in three years.
  • Develop minimum performance standards for safety features on new motorcoach vehicles, including emergency braking, speed limiting technology and collision avoidance systems.
  • Allow law enforcement to conduct en route inspections at roadside stops for buses with a known record of improper maintenance. This would include weigh stations, rest stops and locations that can accommodate passengers with disabilities.
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