[IMAGE]IMMI-seatbelts2-full.jpg[/IMAGE]The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to propose rulemaking early next year to require seat belts on motorcoaches.
On Monday, the DOT 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.
"We are committed to making sure that bus travelers reach their destinations safely," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "These improvements will not only help reduce the number of motorcoach crashes, it will also help save lives and reduce injuries."
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.
To view the plan click here.