Header for US Department of Transportation Blog

You are here

Seat belt rule another step in motorcoach passenger safety

Seat belt rule another step in motorcoach passenger safety

For more than half a century, seat belts have been commonplace in cars, and they have saved thousands of lives and prevented millions of injuries. Now, thanks to a final rule from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts will be saving lives and preventing injuries in America's motorcoaches, too.

NHTSA's rule requires lap and shoulder seat belts for every passenger and driver seat on newly manufactured motorcoaches and other large buses by November 2016. The rule will improve road safety by reducing the risk of death and serious injury in frontal crashes and lowering the risk of occupant ejection in rollover crashes.

As Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro said, “Buckling up is the most effective way to prevent deaths and injuries in all vehicular crashes, including motorcoaches."

Historically, traveling by motorcoach has been a safe form of transportation. But because a large bus can carry many occupants, a crash poses greater potential for injury and loss of life. With safety as our highest priority, DOT wants to reduce that potential risk.

On average each year, 21 motorcoach and large bus occupants are killed and 7,934 are injured in crashes. Requiring lap and shoulder safety belts in motorcoaches could reduce fatalities by up to 44 percent and reduce the number of moderate-to-severe injuries by up to 45 percent.

As NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Adding seat belts to motorcoaches increases safety for all passengers and drivers.”

Some carriers--like Greyhound and Megabus--have already been out in front of this rule, setting an example for the industry by voluntarily giving their passengers the extra protection that safety belts provide. They understand that increased passenger safety goes hand-in-hand with their bottom line.

The new rule is just one part of our ongoing effort to improve bus passenger safety. Other recent steps include motorcoach and driver inspection strike forces and increased enforcement efforts. To see what else we've been doing to protect motorcoach passengers, you can read the Department's Motorcoach Safety Action Plan here.

And remember, if you're planning to travel by motorcoach, you can check the safety records of passenger carriers with our search tool or by using our SaferBus app on your Android or iOS device.

Post new comment

Comments

I would only worry that if an accident occurred would the driver be held liable if someone was not wearing their belt. This has been an ongoing problem, the driver is responsible for everything on the bus, will there be a monitor board so that driver knows if a belt is undone, also, will getting out of ones seat while the bus is in motion be banned,y this, too, would increase safety.

Most often seat-belts really save lives, but I also know stories when people couldn't get out of a vehicle in time because they were fastened.

Every statistic I have seen indicate that seat belts do decrease the risk of injury and death in the case of accident. So this new rule does seem like it will increase safety. I'm curious as to why the rule was not in place already. Seat belts are not a new invention and motorcoaches have been around for decades as well. What was the catalyst for this rule? I also wonder whether any studies have been done to see what percentage of passengers on motor coaches will use their seat belts for the duration of the trip.