Testifying at the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection's hearing on the reauthorization for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Member Kathryn O'Leary Higgins focused her remarks on motorcoach safety, saying that "while motorcoach accidents are infrequent events, there are still many improvements that can be made to make motorcoaches even safer."
Higgins added that both NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) have yet to act upon a long list of motorcoach safety recommendations made by the NTSB, some dating back more than a decade.
"The Board has grown impatient as we continue to investigate accidents where ejections occur, such as the 12 ejections and seven fatalities, in the 2007 Bluffton University accident in Atlanta, Ga., in 2007 and the 50 ejections and 9 fatalities, in the 2008 Mexican Hat, Utah, accident," said Higgins.
Additionally, Higgins highlighted the NTSB's motorcoach safety items from its “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements” to NHTSA, including establishing motorcoach occupant protection standards, revising window-glazing requirements and strengthening motorcoach roofs, as well as newer recommendations, which call upon NHTSA to develop performance standards for new technologies in motor vehicles, such as collision warning systems and adaptive cruise control.
The full text of Member Higgins' written testimony can be found on the NTSB's Website under “Speeches and Testimony.”