Implementing Technology Could Make Bus Trips Safer
LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:
NPR's Zoe Chace reports.
ZOE CHACE: The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act before Congress boils down to one thing according to its sponsor, Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON: Rollovers.
CHACE: Many of the bus crashes in the past 10 years have involved buses that flipped over when drivers lost control. Buses have a high center of gravity; they tend to flip, and the passengers inside...
BAILEY HUTCHISON: They've gone through the windows or through the roofs. They haven't had seatbelts.
CHACE: No seatbelts, no shatter-proof glass, no crumple-proof roofs, says the bill's other sponsor, Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.
SHERROD BROWN: We know how to do them. They're commonsense safety features. But since they're not required by law, they have not installed in most American motor coaches.
CHACE: It would cost about $75,000 per bus to make these changes, says Peter Pantuso with the American Bus Association.
PETER PANTUSO: You have on average 45 to 50 seats in a bus, and you're looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 to $1,500 in additional cost per seat.
CHACE: Advocates of the bill say Pantuso has no evidence to support these figures - and at the bus stop in D.C.'s Chinatown...
(SOUNDBITE OF BUS ENGINE)
CHACE: Irina Morhotova is waiting for the bus to Philly. She takes the bus about once a month. There's no seatbelt.
IRINA MORHOTOVA: Actually, I would prefer to wear a seatbelt. Really. Seriously.
CHACE: Would you pay more for seatbelts?
MORHOTOVA: Yes. Definitely.
CHACE: Zoe Chace NPR News.
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