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Travel Tip: Motorcoach Safety

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As airplane prices skyrocket and the price at the pump continues to climb, more and more Americans are turning to bus travel as an affordable option.

Nearly 700 million passenger trips are taken by bus. That’s more than commercial airlines trips! And those curbside bus operators, like Boltbus and Megabus, are growing fast—in fact, in one year they grew 32 percent.

But along with the rise in demand are rising questions about motorcoach safety.  In 2011, there were several fatal bus accidents, including one that killed more than a dozen passengers.

Tired drivers, a lack of seat belts and unfit buses continue to be an issue when it comes to bus safety.

But here’s the good news. This year, the DOT ramped up bus inspections and shut down 26 companies as of May.

The DOT is now pushing for laws as early as next year, which would enforce electronic logs that make sure drivers don’t overwork.

And there is a push to make buses sturdier and make sure drivers are better trained. And most importantly, to have seatbelts installed in both new and old buses.

But the cost to retrofit a bus is high, don’t expect those types of safety measures to happen overnight.

For more information, visit the Travel Safety archives.

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