Federal regulators say seat belts would go a long way to prevent motor coach injuries

LIBERTY TWP., Ohio – As investigators begin to piece together what happened aboard a Greyhound bus heading from Cincinnati to Detroit moments before it overturned on Saturday, federal inspections show Greyhound as a company received a satisfactory rating for safety over the past two years.

Saturday morning‘s rollover injured 34 of the people aboard the 51-passenger bus as it traveled northbound on Interstate 75 in Liberty Township.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Association indicates that each of the 2,300 buses in Greyhound’s fleet was inspected at least once over the past two years. In addition, 3,900 driver inspections of Greyhound’s 2,370 drivers were conducted over the past two years, according to the FMCSA.

A spokesperson with Greyhound confirmed that the bus driven by Dwayne Garrett received its annual inspection 14 days ago and passed.

The one item lacking on Saturday’s Greyhound bus, and not required by federal regulators, was seat belts.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 750 million passengers travel by motor coaches such as Greyhound buses each year. Of those, only a small portion are equipped with over-the-shoulder safety restraints.

With an average of 17 deaths per year, belts could prevent 77 percent of deaths that result from a rollover, reported the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Transportation Motor Coach Safety Action Plan made it a priority to push for mandatory seat belts for tour buses in 2013.

Greyhound spokesperson Kim Plaskett stated the company has been working toward having seat belts on each of its buses:

Greyhound actually took an industry-leading step by requiring three-point seat belts on all new buses. We started purchasing new buses in 2009, and we have more than 500 buses equipped with seat belts in our fleet today. However, this particular bus was not among the new fleet.

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