There was terrible news of a bus crash in Sherman, Texas early this morning. A charter bus carrying 55 people from Houston to Carthage, Mo. for a religious celebration ran off the road and into a ravine near Sherman, killing at least 13 of its passengers. Numerous other passengers were taken to various area hospitals. Most of the passengers were members of the Vietnamese Martyrs Church in Houston, and they were headed to Marian Days, a religious festival that reportedly celebrates the virgin Mary and Vietnamese culture. The early reports are that a blown tire might have been the cause of the crash.
You can read or watch more details on the crash at the following sites:
This wreck brings forth the debate about seat belts in buses. I haven’t seen reports of whether this bus contained seat belts, but lack of seat belts is certainly a major safety concern. Last year, the Texas legislature passed a law requiring that all school buses purchased after September 1, 2010 and all charter buses used to transport Texas schoolchildren must be equipped with safety belts by Sept. 1, 2011.
But the use of seat belts still lags behind in typical charter buses. In 2007, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and others introduced the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act that is designed to increase safety for bus riders. Unfortunately, the legislation has not gone very far. Sadly, just last month, in an impassioned plea to Congress, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), one of the co-sponsors of the bill, urged quick passage of this bill.
Friday Morning Update: Sadly, another passenger has died at a hospital, and the death toll is now up to 14.