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Proposed bus safety regulations return to the spotlight

Fatal motor vehicle accidents are never a welcome occurrence. Unexpectedly, families lose so much -- often without the ability to say goodbye to loved ones. The healing process after the crash can be long, as families explore their options to feel whole once again and move forward.

However, in some cases, there may be an opportunity to learn from a crash investigation and make improvements for the safety of others. If there is any silver lining to be found in these tragic circumstances, reform efforts might come close.

Right now, federal safety officials are looking into a Northern California bus accident that claimed the lives of eight people. Based on the results of the investigation, there might be enough momentum to enact critical safety regulations.

According to reports, a delivery truck crashed into a charter bus carrying dozens of high school students. The bus burst into flames shortly after the impact. Many of the 44 students made it off the bus safely, but others weren't so fortunate. In total, 10 people died as a result of the crash. All three of the chaperones accompanying the students passed away, in addition to five students and both drivers.

It's likely that suggested regulations that emerge from the National Transportation Safety Board's will include measures to address seat belts, emergency exits and fire-suppression systems. The unfortunate reality is that fatal accidents have spurred similar suggestions in the past, but federal regulators have yet to act. For example, seat belt mandates for tour busses have been proposed for many decades, but no requirements have been made.

In addition to safety recommendations, investigators are looking into the cause of this particular accident. Based on initial observations, it appears as though the truck driver didn't attempt to apply the brakes before the collision. As such, it will be important to determine if negligence contributed to this fatal incident.

Source: KCRA News, "Feds revisit safety rules after Orland bus crash," April 14, 2014

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