Improving Safety at the Source

By Deborah Hersman

Pitcure of Chairman Hersman and NTSB staff with Prevost employees.
Pictured from left to right are Tom Barth, NTSB, myself, Gaetan Bolduc, Prevost President and CEO, Hugues Beaudry, Prevost VP of Product Development and Purchasing, Michele Beckjord, NTSB, Yvan Mailhot, Prevost VP of Operations, and Deny Bertrand, Prevost Director of Regulatory Compliance. Photo: Kris Poland, NTSB.

Yesterday, several NTSB investigators and I visited Prevost, a major motorcoach manufacturer, to discuss bus occupant safety, an issue on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List. Prevost, headquartered in Quebec, Canada, manufactured about 580 motorcoaches this year, most of them are destined for the US market.

As a result of previous accident investigations, the NTSB has issued a number of recommendations to prevent accidents or improve occupant protection by improving vehicle design or performance. In most cases, we have asked DOT to establish standards or requirements, and unfortunately NTSB recommendations have languished for years, in some areas we have been waiting for a decade or more with little or no progress.

That is why I was so excited to see a manufacturer taking the lead when it comes to safety – for example, today I learned that all new Prevost buses in the US are being equipped with lap and shoulder belts at all passenger seating positions as standard equipment. In addition, between 85 and 90% of Prevost coaches are purchased with their electronic stability program. The buses also have optional safety systems such as adaptive cruise control and collision avoidance systems that are specifically tailored to the unique characteristics of the motorcoach environment. I was very pleased to see all of these positive steps forward consistent with NTSB recommendations.

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