Lawmakers introduce sweeping bus, motorcoach safety bill
Pennsylvania lawmakers Bill Shuster and Tim Holden, along with Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, introduced a bill in Congress Wednesday to improve passenger safety on U.S. buses and motorcoaches. Called the “Bus Uniform Standards and Enhance Safety (BUSES) Act of 2011,” the measure would strengthen the U.S. Department of Transportation’s oversight and efforts to set uniform safety standards on new and existing buses.
If passed, the bill would affect approximately 35,000 motorcoaches, which provide 750 million passenger trips annually. The BUSES Act would help to ensure only the best, most well-trained drivers could transport passengers, and it would require testing that could lead to more regulations that govern the bus transportation industry. The bill would establish minimum training requirements for drivers seeking a CDL with a passenger endorsement, and would allow the USDOT to review individual state requirements for the CDL drivers.
The bill also takes into consideration that the number of America’s motorcoach companies are small businesses, with many being family owned. The BUSES Act would authorize tax credits and loans to help defray safety improvement costs.