New motorcoaches would be required to have lap-shoulder belts to help prevent driver and passenger ejections during a collision under a proposal announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today. The proposed rule will take effect three years after the final rule is issued.
While motorcoach travel is a very safe mode of highway transportation in the U.S., carrying 750 million passengers annually, an average of 19 motorcoach occupants are killed each year on U.S. roadways. Wearing lap-shoulder belts on motorcoaches could reduce the risk for passengers of being killed in a rollover crash by 77 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
"We want motorcoaches to be as safe as possible and are working towards that goal," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "In coordination with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, we will continue moving forward in our mission to save lives and reduce injuries."
Today's announcement is just the latest initiative from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve motorcoach safety. Earlier this year, the department released a Motorcoach Safety Action Plan offering concrete steps for addressing driver fatigue or inattention and improving operator maintenance. Research for improving motorcoach structure, fire safety protection and emergency egress is also under way, which could lead to recommendations for new federal standards in the future.
NHTSA is seeking public comment on the proposal for the next 90 days. To view the new proposal, click here.