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April 21, 2009 - NTSB Considers Greater Bus Safety

Deadly crashes and an increase in travel have renewed calls for greater safety on U.S. buses, say officials of the National Transportation Safety Board

Increased federal oversight is being discussed following the board's release of its findings on the Jan. 6, 2008, crash of a chartered ski bus in Utah that killed nine people and injured 43 others, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The death-rate in bus accidents is half that of passenger cars, but four times greater than the toll for passenger trains and 25 times greater than that of commercial airliners, NTSB officials said.

Since 2000, 401 people have died in bus accidents, the Post reported, noting that commercial bus travel has been growing 3 percent to 7 percent annually in recent years.

Peggy Murrietta, whose 18-year-old son Joseph DeBolske died in the Utah crash, said she believed her son would be alive if the government had moved faster to regulate the industry.

"A seat belt would have saved my son," Murrietta said. "I am absolutely certain that had there been even the most basic seat belt on that bus, my son would have had that belt on."

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