NTSB urges bus safety rules similar to planes after California’s deadly crash
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Tuesday urged commercial bus operators to adopt safety rules similar to planes, following the California crash that claimed ten lives and left many injured.
The federal agency said commercial bus operators should ensure that their buses have clearly labeled emergency exits as well as safety briefings akin to those on planes.
The suggestions followed an investigation into the deadly collision in which a tractor-trailer crashed into a bus full of students on April 10, 2014.
The bus with dozens of students was hit by a FedEx truck that veered across an interstate median around 100 miles north of Sacramento after the driver lost control. Many students struggled to escape the burning bus as it had no clearly labeled emergency exits. Drivers of vehicles involved, five students and three other people were killed in the accident.
The four-member NTSB decided at its meeting in Washington, D.C., to urge transportation regulators to enhance emergency exits and add fire-resistant materials to commercial buses in order to make easier for passengers to survive crashes.
The United Motorcoach Association's president Victor Parra said some of the federal agency's safety recommendations might make sense but they should be supported by science showing that the recommended changes would make a difference.
Commenting on the recommendations, Parra said, "Buses are the safest way to travel on the nation's highways, bar none. We have plenty of exits now; it's a matter of making passengers aware of what they are and how they use them."
However, the NTSB can only recommend safety rules. It is up to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to enact them.
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