There are about 29,000 large buses operating in the US. These large buses, also known as motor coaches, carry approximately 700 million passengers on an annual basis in the US. This rate is comparable to the domestic airline industry in terms of volume.
There is a growing concern among safety advocates that not enough is being done to keep passengers safe in bus accidents. Fifteen years ago, bus accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board recommended safety standard improvements were needed for large buses. Advancements were needed to make it easier for passengers to exit a motor coach after a crash. Proposed regulations would include procedures for different occupant groups such as children and seniors to easily exit out windows and emergency exits following a bus accident. To date, this type of regulation has not been enacted.
Two years ago Congress passed legislation which directed the Transportation Department to conduct research and testing on ways to prevent or minimize fires on large buses as well as ways to improve evacuation. The authority to determine if new standards are warranted lies with the Secretary of Transportation.
Safety advocates believe there are two main reasons the NHTSA has been slow to respond to safety recommendation involving motor coaches. The first is the advocates feel bus safety is not a priority for the agency because motor coaches are used to primarily transport the elderly, students and low-income people. The second reason is that the NHTSA is severely underfunded, especially considering they are responsible for safety testing and regulation of all passenger vehicles and trucks as well as large buses. Safety advocates point out the bus manufacturing industry has been making new regulations difficult to issue. Bus manufacturers fight the issuance of hard deadlines for safety upgrades. It wasn’t until last year the NHTSA issued a rule to regulate all new buses be equipped with seat belts.
The Philadelphia personal injury lawyers of Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP can help you if you have been injured in an accident involving a motorcoach or other bus. Our Philadelphia motor vehicle accident lawyers will ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries. With our offices located in center city Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware. Please call us today at 800-300-0909 or submit an online contact form to set up a consultation with one of our experienced bus accident lawyers.