Each year more than 750-million passengers board more than 35,000 motorcoaches, making it one of the safest modes of transportation. For perspective, that number of people is approximately the population of Charlotte, NC.
In the next year, we anticipate the Department of Transportation to hand down regulations to further enhance the industry’s current strong standards. Seat belts in cars has been legally mandated since the mid-80s in the United States, and, according to the National Safety Council, seat belts are responsible for saving more than 75,000 lives between 2004 and 2008. Given its impact on safety, there’s been a natural, ongoing dialogue within the industry and in Washington surrounding the availability of seat belts on coaches. The belts are effective in preventing head and neck injuries, but the primary goal would be keeping passengers inside the buses in an accident.
In 2012, the Department of Transportation released its “Motorcoach Safety Action Plan” that examined multiple safety aspects of the industry. One element of the plan calls for the government to initiate “rulemaking to require the installation of seat belts on motorcoaches and other large buses to improve occupant protection.”
Public notices were collected, and regulations are expected to be released before the end of 2013. Once the new regulations requiring shoulder restraints at each seat are handed down, the industry will have multiple years to make the mandated changes.
However, many companies are working ahead in anticipation of new seat belt regulations. So, be sure to ask if your charter is fitted for seat belts once you’ve made your selection at BusRates.com.
Now, the true challenge comes, and that’s getting the passengers to buckle up. Regulations can only do so much. We all need to snap for safety.