Washington, D.C. – New motorcoaches would be required to have lap and shoulder seatbelts under a proposal announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The proposed rule will take effect three years after the final rule is issued.

“We’re committed to making sure that motorcoach travelers reach their destinations safely,” LaHood said. “Seatbelts save lives, and putting them in motorcoaches just makes sense.”

Some 750 million passengers travel by motorcoach in the U.S., but an average of 19 are killed each year on U.S. roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that lap-shoulder belts on motorcoaches could reduce the risk for passengers being killed in a rollover crash by 77 per cent.

Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation released a motorcoach safety action plan, offering concrete steps for addressing fatigue or inattention and improving operator maintenance. Research for improving motorcoach structure, fire safety protection and emergency egress is also under way, which could lead to recommendations for new federal standards in the future.

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