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UCSF Shuttle Bus Crash Puts Seat Belt Law Into Question

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San Francisco crash, big-rig, UCSF shuttle bus

Emergency vehicles at the scene of a fatal crash involving a big-rig and UCSF shuttle bus at Octavia and Oak streets in San Francisco, July 14, 2011. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – This week’s deadly collision involving a University of California, San Francisco shuttle bus has left many questioning whether these larger vehicles should actually have seat belts.

“Seat belts are required in most vehicles other than a motor truck, a truck tractor or a bus,” said Tony Tam with the California Highway Patrol.

Tam said that the UCSF shuttle meets the definition of a bus, as it carries more than 10 people.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

The accident occurred at the intersection of Octavia Boulevard and Oak Street early Thursday morning, when the shuttle bus collided with a big rig.

52-year-old UCSF Associate Professor Kevin Mack was killed after being ejected from the vehicle.

“When you look at airport shuttle buses, most of them don’t have seat belts cause they carry more than 10 passengers,” Tam said. “A Muni bus doesn’t need it because they also carry more than 10 passengers.”

But San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, whose district includes the Hayes Valley neighborhood where the accident occurred, still has questions.

“You would expect that especially coming from a medical institution, that that (seat belts) would be a requirement, at least one would hope so,” he said.

UCSF spokeswoman Elizabeth Fernandez said that the majority of the university’s 50 shuttles carry 22 passengers.

She said that the community is still reeling over the death of Mack.

“The accident was a terrible tragedy and we feel horrible about the accident itself and the people who were injured,” said Fernandez. “We lost a member of our family.”

The driver of the shuttle bus has been placed on administrative leave.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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