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Senate Approves Bill Arising From Atlanta Bus Crash

Posted on Mar 23, 2012

Dayton Daily News

WASHINGTON — A bill introduced in the aftermath of an Atlanta bus crash that killed five members of an Ohio college baseball team has cleared the U.S. Senate.
The measure, introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, would increase safety requirements for motorcoach drivers and companies.
The bill would require safety belts and stronger seating systems to protect occupants of such buses, improve driver training, and require anti-ejection glazing windows to prevent passengers from being thrown out of the motorcoach.
It was a direct response to the March 2, 2007 bus crash in Atlanta that killed seven people.
The bill was part of the transportation bill that passed the Senate Wednesday, and a Brown spokeswoman said Brown is hoping that an identical measure will be included in the bill as it moves toward debate in the House.
“This bill will save lives,” Brown said in a statement announcing passage of the measure. “Five years after a tour bus that claimed the lives of seven young people from the Bluffton University community, the Senate has passed legislation to enact critical tour bus safety standards.”
In the March 2007 accident, the bus driver didn’t realize the HOV ramp was actually an exit until it was too late to stop.
The vehicle crashed through a barrier wall and fell to the highway below, killing five baseball team members, the driver and his wife.
The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the tragedy on bad signs and driver error.
The state agreed to pay $3 million, the maximum legal settlement, to victims of the wreck.

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Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia