A bill requiring safety belts and stronger seating systems on bus proposed by a Vietnamese-American woman passed the US Senate and House on June 29 and is due to be signed by President Obama into law on July 10.
“It’s been a very long journey. It was such a relief when it passed both houses,” Le Thi Yen Chi, who brought in the bill, said.
Chi has struggled to get the bill passed for 4 years after her mom, Catherine Tuong So Lam, was killed in a bus crash in Sherman Texa in 2008.
“The whole reason that I got into this was because I did not want my mom’s death to not count for anything,” said.
“I had never been to D.C. before any of this happened. And my first trip to D.C. was a month after my mom died. If would take nearly four years and 20 trips to the capital.”
The bill was passed in the Senate in 2010 but got denied in the House.
“I needed to do whatever I could, however long it took, to make sure that this doesn’t happen to other families,” she said.
Chi - who is currently the Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University of Texas’s Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research based in Houston - hopes that future passengers on buses will be better protected on the road.
Therefore, under her proposal, buses over the three next years are required to have seat belts, anti-crush roofing, anti-ejection glazing on the windows and tire pressure monitoring systems to help prevent deaths and minimize injuries./.