WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown applauded the opening of the David Betts Memorial Baseball Diamond in a statement today. Last week, Brown delivered a statement on the Senate floor honoring the life of David Betts, who died in a 2007 bus accident involving members of the Bluffton University baseball team. Following the 2007 tragedy, Brown worked alongside Ohio families—including David’s parents, John and Joy Betts—to author legislation to improve tour bus safety.
“When a fatal motorcoach accident took the life of David Betts more than five years ago, his family members became courageous advocates in raising awareness of motorcoach safety and demanding Congressional action. Thanks to their unyielding fight, the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act passed both houses of Congress and has been signed into law. Simply put, John and Joy Betts’ dedication to their son will help save lives. This baseball diamond will forever serve as a reminder to residents of Bryan and across the nation of David’s life, his love for baseball, and what can be accomplished when we work together and refuse to give up.”
Brown fought to include the bipartisan Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011 as part of the highway bill reauthorization that was approved by both houses of Congress in June 2012. The bill, which requires safety belts, stronger seating systems, and enhanced commercial driver training was signed into law by the President this summer. Brown originally introduced the legislation alongside Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) in 2007; again in 2009; and finally in 2011.
The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act is based on National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, some of which were first proposed in 1968. The law requires:
- Safety belts and stronger seating systems to ensure occupants stay in their seats in a crash.
- Improved commercial driver training.
- Anti-ejection glazing windows to prevent passengers from being easily thrown outside the motorcoach.
- Strong, crush-resistant roofs that can withstand rollovers.
- Improved protection against fires by reducing flammability of the motorcoach interior, and better training for operators in the case of fire.
- A National Commercial Motor Vehicle Medical Registry to ensure that only medically qualified examiners conduct physical examinations of drivers and a medical certificate process to ensure that all certificates are valid and no unqualified operator is allowed to drive.
- Strengthened motorcoach vehicle safety inspections, including roadside inspections, safety audits, and state and motor carrier programs for identifying vehicle defects.
- Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) with real-time capabilities to track precise vehicle location that cannot be tampered with by the driver.