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Government and Politics

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.