ABA Calls For Sound Science To Inform Seat Belt Rules

Posted on January 5, 2011 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

AT ISSUE: Should politicians or engineers determine how best to install mandatory seat belts on motorcoaches?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION (ABA) recently urged activists advertising in Oklahoma newspapers in favor of flawed Senate Bill S. 554 to reconsider their campaign, and urged them to support sound, science-driven safety.

The ABA calls for a reinvestment of ad money into education about why taking the bus is the safest way to travel, and wants to ensure engineers and regulators have adequate time to implement proper protocols, and scientific methodologies determine the shape of new safety rules.


“The motorcoach industry has a long and proud history of putting safety above all else, and we want to make the safest form of surface transportation even safer,” said ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. “As Congress nears the end of its ‘lame duck’ session, S. 554 could pass in the final hours. If that happens, science will lose to politics — and it will force many small, mom-and-pop bus companies to go out of business without any tangible public safety benefit.”

S. 554 jeopardizes bus safety by forcing the federal government to enact the bill's provisions in a haphazard, unscientific manner lacking sufficient research or study. It also would reduce mobility to Sooner State residents living far from Oklahoma City and Tulsa by curtailing the ability of bus companies to continue providing rural service to so many people who rely on buses as their only accessible travel choice.

“The motorcoach industry supports installing seat belts in new buses,” Pantuso added. “We have worked constructively with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] during the rulemaking process, and will continue to do so. America needs the science-based perspective of Oklahoma Sen. Tom Colburn to be a voice of reason when politicians start making engineering decisions.”

ABA also extended an invitation to the group behind the anonymous ads to work together on areas of common ground in supporting safety first always. “We invite the well-meaning activists responsible for these ads to support legislation offering a better way, notably Congressman Bill Shuster’s (R-Penn.) bill, H.R. 1135,” Pantuso said. “H.R. 1135 is a model of science-driven policy, with bipartisan support, will re-introduce in the new Congress next month. We hope activists support this bill, which gives engineers adequate timeframes to use proven methodologies based on hard science. I urge those behind these misguided ads to embrace transparency over secrecy, and forsake negativity for a new path to enhance safety.”


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