New Standard Out for Canadian Vehicles Transporting Schoolchildren

The Canadian Standards Association published CSA D270, Multi-functional activity buses, on Aug. 13 to fill a gap in the country's federal standards. This is the firs CSA standard setting voluntary requirements for this new proposed class of vehicles, which are intended to be used as a safer alternative to vehicles not classified as school buses but still transport groups of school-aged passengers to sporting events, community activities, and other outings. "Currently there are no Canadian Federal regulations pertaining specifically to new non-conforming vehicles that can carry 11 or more persons and are sold for the purpose of transporting students to or from school or school related events," CSA said. "Following more than a thousand accidents in 10 years, American federal requirements now regulate that such vehicles are required to meet the same federal standards as school buses."

"CSA has extensive expertise in developing national standards for school buses," says John Walter, CSA's vice president, Standards Development. "We have applied that same expertise to the new multi-functional activity bus standard." The standard addresses joint strength, crashworthiness, rollover protection, emergency exits, compartmentalization, and numerous safety features. It does not include requirements for traffic and pedestrian control devices, such as warning lamps or stop arms, because these vehicles are not intended for roadside pickups and dropoffs of passengers.

Development of the standard began in 2006 as members of the CSA technical committee responsible for school bus standards began seeing non-conforming vehicles being increasingly used for student transport, CSA said. Canada's provincial governments can decide whether they will adopt the new standard in whole or in part and how they will enforce its requirements, and it will be up to interested manufacturers to generate sufficient test data to support a self-declaration that their vehicles meet the standard.

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