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Senate passes bill to tighten motorcoach standards

March 21, 2012

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Washington – The Senate on March 14 approved a bill (.pdf file) intended to tighten safety standards for buses and motorcoaches.

The bill (S. 453) would require the installation of safety belts, compartmentalized seating systems, anti-ejection window glazing and crush-resistant roofs in motorcoaches. It also would require classroom and behind-the-wheel training for motorcoach operators, which currently is not required by federal regulations. Strengthened motorcoach vehicle safety inspections – including roadside inspections, safety audits, and state and motor carrier programs for identifying vehicle defects – would be mandated as well.

The bill also requires improved oversight of the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners, which will set standards for driver physical fitness and a medical certificate process to ensure certificates are valid and unqualified operators are rejected.

The bill passed as part of a two-year, $109 billion transportation and infrastructure reauthorization bill (S. 1813).

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