This FMCSA photo was included in NTSB

NHTSA Proposes More Passenger Protection in Motorcoaches

The agency has proposed a new federal motor carrier safety standard to enhance protections for rollover crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard to protect passengers in motorcoaches and other large buses – those with a gross vehicle weight above 26,000 pounds -- in rollover crashes. The proposed rule published Aug. 5 aims to improve the structural design of these vehicles by ensuring that the space around passengers remains sufficiently intact and the emergency exits remain operable.

"The consequences for passengers in rollover crashes are severe," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. "I want passengers to know that when this department sees opportunities to make their travel safer so that they can more confidently visit their families or get to work, we are going to do just that, and we believe this proposal is a step in that direction."

The proposed standard would establish a new rollover test and would:

  • Require space around occupant seating positions to be maintained to afford occupants a survivable space in a crash
  • Require the seats, overhead luggage racks, and window glazing to remain attached to their mountings during and after the test
  • Require emergency exits to remain closed during the rollover test and operable after the test

The proposed test procedure and performance requirements are closely modeled after European regulations for large buses, according to NHTSA.

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