Lobbying Has Charter Bus Industry Regulation Closer To Wild West

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — When you get on a plane, the lights, exits and other safety features are heavily regulated by the federal government, but some say the charter bus industry is closer to the Wild West.

The deadly Orland tour bus crash that killed 10 people is shining a light on safety standards that haven’t been enacted for escaping a similar crash, despite experts urging them to do so for nearly two decades.

“Buses are still in the dark ages in terms of what they are equipped with relative to safety,” said attorney Robert Buccola.

He represents bus crash victims and says standard safety procedures like the ones we have on planes are needed for motorcoaches. Things like automatic emergency lights on the ground and lighter windows that pop out with ease after a crash could mean the difference between life and death.

“Some self-certification studies have shown as much as 100 pounds of pressure required to pop a window out for escape,” Buccola said.

He says the bus lobby is strong, and it has battled with the federal government to try and resist change.

He adds that groups that ride the motorcoaches don’t have much pull.

“A lot of them are elderly, a lot of them are the poor, so you don’t have a big group lobbying for bus safety,” he said.

Buccola says standard rules to make it easier to escape is what consumers deserve.

“It’s a matter of basic moral consciousness at this stage,” he said.

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