Seat belts on commercial buses delayed 45 years

JOAN LOWY, Associated Press
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This March 2, 2007 photo shows a charter bus carrying the Bluffton University baseball team from Ohio after it plunged off a highway ramp early in Atlanta and slammed into the I-75 pavement below. (AP Photo/Gene Blythe, File)

This March 2, 2007 photo shows a charter bus carrying the Bluffton University baseball team from Ohio after it plunged off a highway ramp early in Atlanta and slammed into the I-75 pavement below. (AP Photo/Gene Blythe, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a drunken driver in California slammed into a bus carrying passengers to Las Vegas, killing 19 people, investigators said a lack of seat belts contributed to the high death toll. But 45 years later, safety advocates are still waiting for the government to act on seat belts and other measures to protect bus passengers.

The National Transportation Safety Board has repeated its call for seat belts or other means to protect passengers during crashes involving large buses used for tours, charters and intercity passenger service. About half of all motorcoach fatalities occur in rollover crashes, especially when passengers are ejected from the bus.

In 2009, then-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood promised to require seat belts on commercial buses. Regulations were due in September under a law passed last year by Congress, but those are still under White House review.

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