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Washington Lawmakers Consider ‘Party Bus’ Safety

Washington lawmakers are considering whether to beef up oversight of the “party bus” industry. At a public hearing Monday, the head of the state agency that regulates in-state bus lines said it’s a matter of safety.

Party buses are parties on wheels. Limousine-style seating, flashing lights, music, video and sometimes even dance poles. They’ve been involved in fatal wrecks across the nation.

Dave Danner, who heads Washington’s Utilities and Transportation Commission, told a panel of Washington lawmakers that he needs more tools to regulate this emerging industry. He also wants a ban on double-decker party buses.

"Because, sad to say, that the second leading cause of death on a party bus – and this has happened to three people – involved their passengers on double-decker buses having their heads hit overpasses," Decker said.

None of those deaths were in Washington. But in 2012 an 11-year old girl died in Portland when she fell out of the window of a party bus. 

The proposal before the Washington legislature would also prohibit party bus operators from furnishing alcohol.

Passengers could bring alcohol on board with a special permit from the state Liquor Control Board.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."