The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act (S.554), introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex), was passed by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, chaired by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.). The bill now moves to the Senate floor for consideration.
As passed by the committee, the legislation requires U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to issue new regulations to improve the safety of motorcoaches and motorcoach operators. The safety measures required by the bill have been the subject of numerous safety recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) over the past four decades.
The bipartisan bill comprehensively addresses the NTSB recommendations by including safety requirements for occupant protection (seat belts, roof strength and anti-ejection windows), protection against on-board fires (fire-fighting equipment and fire suppression) and crash avoidance (electronic stability control and tire pressure monitoring systems).
The legislation also addresses the safe operation of motorcoach companies through new entrant safety reviews to be conducted within nine months of starting operations, and improved driver safety by requiring entry-level driver training and electronic on-board recorders to ensure compliance with federal rules on maximum driving time.
For a summary of S.554 as passed today by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, go to www.saferoads.org.