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Lawmakers Push for Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on April 5, 2011

Several recent high-profile bus accidents, including one in New York in March that killed 15 people and injured 17 more, has prompted lawmakers from Ohio and Texas to press other members of Congress to pass the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) spoke before fellow lawmakers recently and urged them to pass the Act, which would improve driver training and motorcoach safety. The Act was first proposed in 2007 after a bus accident in Atlanta that killed five members of the Bluffton University baseball team.

Another fatal bus accident occurred last January and killed members of the University of Mount Union wrestling team near Bucyrus, Ohio. The most recent version of the Act is lawmakers’ third attempt to pass this piece of legislation. Senators Brown and Hutchinson spoke on March 30 before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and they urged committee members to help them pass this Act.

The proposed Act would create a National Commercial Motor Vehicle Medical Registry, which would ensure that only qualified medical examiners would conduct thorough medical examinations of bus drivers. It would also create a medical certificate process to ensure that each driver’s certificate is valid and help prevent unqualified drivers from operating motorcoaches. The Act would also toughen motorcoach vehicle safety inspections and enhance roadside inspections, safety audits and state and motor carrier programs for identifying vehicle defects in order to keep poorly maintained buses off the roads.

Not surprisingly, the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) issued a statement opposing the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act. UMA’s Vice President of Industry Relations, Kenneth Pressley, states the UMA’s position quite clearly in a recent statement. He said, “We don’t think there is any legislation necessary; [we think] that NHTSA is following their mandate. NHTSA is on course to do the things that are truthfully what the safety advocates want, and we’re expecting a rule. I’m not sure what legislation would do to change that. We certainly stressed [this] to Congress.”

James O. Cunningham and other Orlando personal injury attorneys are watching developments in this matter very closely and are hopeful that legislators will pass this important piece of bus passenger safety legislation. This is especially important here in Florida as millions of people visit our state with a large percentage of them traveling in motorcoaches. Any legislation that helps prevent tragedies like the recent bus accident in New York is a step in the right direction, but much remains to be done to ensure that buses are maintained properly and drivers are qualified to transport passengers. If you’ve been injured in a bus accident and you have questions about your case, fill out a contact form for a fast reply or call 888-425-2004 or 407-425-2000. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation with Orlando personal injury lawyer James O. Cunningham.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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