National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
WASHINGTON, DC - National Transportation Safety Board Member Kathryn O'Leary Higgins today told a House subcommittee that "while motorcoach accidents are infrequent events, there are still many improvements that can be made to make motorcoaches even safer."
Testifying at the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection's hearing on the reauthorization for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Member Higgins focused her remarks on motorcoach safety. She remarked that both NHTSA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) have yet to act upon a long list of motorcoach safety recommendations made by the NTSB, some dating back more than a decade.
"The Board has grown impatient as we continue to investigate accidents where ejections occur, such as the 12 ejections, and 7 fatalities, in the 2007 Bluffton University accident in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2007 and the 50 ejections, and 9 fatalities, in the 2008 Mexican Hat, Utah, accident," said Higgins.
Member Higgins highlighted the Board's motorcoach safety items from the NTSB's Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements to NHTSA, including establishing motorcoach occupant protection standards, revising window- glazing requirements, and strengthening motorcoach roofs.
"These improvements would go a long way in protecting passengers during a crash by keeping them in their seats and providing survivable space inside the motorcoach," remarked Higgins.
Member Higgins also highlighted some of the Board's newer recommendations which call upon NHTSA to develop performance standards for new technologies in motor vehicles, such as collision warning systems and adaptive cruise control, as driver aids when faced with distractions or inclement weather.
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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.