No Seatbelts on Buses to Help Protect

By: Sarah Goebel Email
By: Sarah Goebel Email

Law enforcement is always telling us to "Buckle Up" to protect ourselves on the road, but there were no seat belts to keep the passengers safe during Monday's bus accident.
Kentucky State Police says some motor coaches have seat belts, but C&R's tour bus wasn't one of them.
The owner of a local motor coach company says it's very common for tour buses to be equipped without seat belts.

"I didn't have a seatbelt the whole time. I didn't even see a seatbelt." - Carlos Davis, Tour Bus Accident Victim

"I've never known any to be on the motor coaches." - Yonia Augustino, BUS Express Owner

Bus accident victim Carrie Bell Walton was ejected on impact.
Some question if she were wearing a seat belt could she have survived the accident.

"I don't know where the lady was or any of the circumstances so I really couldn't tell." - Yonia Augustino, BUS Express Owner

"My cousin was sitting in front of the bus and was thrown off the bus and we seen her all bent up on those walls we knew then she wasn't alive." - Carlos Davis, Tour Bus Accident Victim

Augustino has been in the charter bus business for more then 12 years.
She says there's no law about seat belts on tour busses and says there's good reason for it.

"The main reason there are no seatbelts on charters is due to evacuation." - Yonia Augustino, BUS Express Owner

"You need to evacuate quickly. There are several windows on the motor coach that open out and something has to be done very quickly." - Yonia Augustino, BUS Express Owner

Augustino says a seat belt could get in the way of that, possibly making them unsafe.

"You're dealing with a very powerful engine in the rear of the motor coach and ther have been often times that they have caught on fire." - Yonia Augustino, BUS Express Owner

Usually during an emergency panic and chaos overwhelm the victims making it hard for them to get out.

"I've known people that actually did not have seatbelts on and it saved their lives." - Yonia Augustino, BUS Express Owner

"It was just chaotic everybody's hurt people with broken ankles." - Carlos Davis, Tour Bus Accident Victim

A seat belt may or may not have saved Carlos' cousin, but Augustino belives her industry is doing what they can to ensure safety to each passenger.

"They have to be. Safety is number one when you're dealing with 50 lives." - Yonia Augustino, BUS Express Owner

Augustino says the maximum capacity of a motor coach is 56 people.
There were 67 people on C&R's tour bus Monday.
Augustino says that could have made matters worse during the accident.

To view the National Transportation Department's similation of a bus accident, click here.

WBKO 2727 Russellville Road Bowling Green, KY 42101-3976 Phone: 270-781-1313 After Hours Hotline: 270-781-6397 Fax: 270-781-1814
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