Seat belts Will Be Required on Large Buses - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Seat belts Will Be Required on Large Buses

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This March 2, 2007, file photo shows a charter bus carrying the Bluffton University baseball team from Ohio after it plunged off a highway ramp in Atlanta. This March 2, 2007, file photo shows a charter bus carrying the Bluffton University baseball team from Ohio after it plunged off a highway ramp in Atlanta.

NBCRightNow.com - Federal regulators say they will require that new tour buses and buses that carry passengers on scheduled routes between cities be equipped with seat belts.

It's a safety measure sought by accident investigators for nearly a half century.

Beginning in November 2016, all new motorcoaches and some other large buses must be equipped by manufacturers with three-point lap-shoulder belts, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. However, the rule doesn't apply to school buses or city transit buses.

Motorcoaches typically cost between $350,000 and $500,000, according to the bus association. Seat belts would add about $3,000 to the price of a new, 54-passenger bus, according to the safety administration.
   
The agency said an average of 21 people in such buses are killed each year in crashes, and thousands more are injured annually. The agency said seat belts could reduce fatalities and moderate-to-severe injuries by nearly half.
    
Federal accident investigators first recommended motorcoaches be equipped with seat belts in 1968 in response to a California highway crash that killed 19 passengers.

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