Tour Bus Law Passes Five Years After Fatal Bluffton Crash

BLUFFTON, Ohio — The Bluffton University community will never forget March 2, 2007.

Five Bluffton baseball players, a bus driver and his wife were killed when their motor coach crashed near Atlanta.

On Friday, new legislation called the Motor Coach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011 finally passed to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.

“This is a big victory for passengers, for consumers of bus services,” said U.S. Senator for Ohio, Sherrod Brown.

John Betts and his wife Joy were huge advocates of the new law. Their son David was killed when the bus crashed in Atlanta, and John promised his son that something good would come out of the horrible crash.

“We’re very, very happy to know that the pain and suffering that the families have gone through will be decreased substantially over the next few years,” said Betts.

The legislation signed Friday by President Obama will implement new safety features. One year from now all new buses will be required to have seat belts and in two years, stronger roofs and safer windows will be required on all tour buses.

“This is one of the most significant highway safety bills to be passed in the last two decades and the absolute first legislation that specifically address motor coach safety,” said safety advocate, Jackie Gillan.

The safety features that will go into effect will cost each passenger roughly 10 cents a ride, a small price to pay for a better day tomorrow.

“These safety measures mean a lot and in my opinion will help save lives and could probably cut down on fatalities,” said Greyhound bus driver Herman Green.

The new bill, however, does not call for motor coach companies to retrofit old buses.

“We think the marketplace will move towards more safety once we get these rules in place for new buses,” added Sen. Brown.

This is a big step in the right direction to increase safety on the highways.

The Motor Coach Enhanced Safety Act also includes improved commercial driving, improved protection against fires, a commercial Motor Vehicle

Medical registry, strengthened safety inspections and electronic on-board recorders which will track vehicle location.