Bus Safety Buzz Kill

Nearly a quarter of a century ago, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that motor coaches be equipped with seat belts. And for nearly a quarter of a century, bus manufacturers have been quite adept at ensuring that never happens. Compartmentalization, don’t you know. No need. Envelope of safety, and all that.

In August, however, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a proposed rulemaking that would require new motor coaches to have lap-shoulder belts. Specifically, the new regulation would establish a new definition for motor coaches and amend FMVSS 208, Occupant Crash Protection, to require the installation of lap/shoulder belts at all driver and passenger seating positions, and the installation of lap/shoulder belts at driver seating positions of large school buses. (Six states, Florida, Texas, California, Louisiana, New Jersey and New York, and some municipalities currently require seat belts on school buses.) Continue reading