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Highway Bill Adds Motorcoach Laws Spurred By Bluffton Bus Crash

Five years after a bus crash that killed several Bluffton University baseball team players, new federal legislation will increase safety on motor coaches. John Betts said, “we had no plans on going anywhere until this was accomplished." Betts' son, David, was one of five Bluffton University baseball team players who died in a bus crash in March 2007. That accident was the impetus for the new regulations. “We are extremely happy that we can fulfill our promise to David and the Bluffton University boys and all those families across the country who have lost loved ones," he said. Betts worked with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown who drafted the measure as part of the highway bill. The law requires new buses to have seat belts, anti-ejection glazed windows, and roofs able to withstand rollovers among other safety features.

“This is not really high-tech stuff. We’re not talking about air bags that are popping out of windows and that kind of stuff, we’re talking about seat belts, and things that are just simple and straightforward." - John Betts, son died in Bluffton bus crash

President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Jacqueline Gillan, said bus manufacturers provide seat belts, but as options. “What this legislation does is it makes it standard equipment because we don’t think what people are riding on motor coaches just as when you’re riding in your car that a seat belt should be optional…it ought to be standard equipment. And it ought to be available to every passenger on every ride, in every seat.â€? While the legislation does not require older buses to retro-fit to meet the new requirements, advocates hope carriers will install safety equipment in older buses once consumers show a preference for it. Some of the requirements must be put into place within a year.