Deadly church bus crash prompts proposed law

(WISH Photo, file)
(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The state Senate voted Wednesday to establish mandatory inspections for privately owned buses in Indiana.

It’s a reaction to the Colonial Hills Baptist Church tragedy in July 2013.

The bill that is now headed to the governor’s desk calls for annual inspections of any vehicle that carries 11 or more passengers.

Three people were killed when the Colonial Hills bus failed to negotiate the exit from I-465 to Keystone Avenue on a return trip from a Michigan church camp. The driver initially blamed a brake failure but an investigation showed he was driving too fast and there was no mechanical problem.

Bill author Sen. Tom Wyss (R-Fort Wayne) still believes that a new law is called for.

“I still think the general public needs to understand that if we’re going to get into these kind of vehicles, or our children and grandchildren are,” said Sen. Wyss, “that they should know they’re (as) safe as if they were commercial.”

The Senate voted 38-11 to send the bus inspection bill to the governor.

It doesn’t take effect until the end of 2015. That will give the Indiana State Police time to establish an inspection program.

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