NHTSA Proposal Would Improve Motorcoach and Large Bus Passenger Safety

The agency is proposing performance requirements for preventing windows and roof panels from becoming ejection portals during a rollover crash

NHTSA Proposal Would Improve Motorcoach and Large Bus Passenger Safety
Image: Pixabay
April 26, 2016

The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard that will help reduce fatalities and injuries in motorcoach and large bus crashes by mitigating occupant ejection.

NHTSA's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) specifies a new impactor test on the glazing material of side and rear windows and glass panels on the roof of motorcoaches and large buses. The test simulates an unbelted occupant impacting a window on the opposite side of the bus during a bus rollover crash. The proposal would drive the installation of advanced glazing and improved emergency exit latches in motorcoaches and large buses.

Preventing occupant ejection is a high priority for the USDOT and NHTSA, as noted in the Motorcoach Safety Action Plan. NHTSA has taken a multifaceted approach to addressing this safety problem. In 2013, the agency issued a final rule requiring that seatbelts at all seating positions in motorcoaches to mitigate occupant ejection and improve crash protection.

In 2014, NHTSA issued an NPRM for improved rollover structural integrity that would also ensure that window glazing does not pop out of its mounting and that emergency exits do not open inadvertently during a rollover crash.

NHTSA is now proposing performance requirements for preventing the windows and roof panels themselves from becoming ejection portals due to occupant loading during a rollover crash.

NHTSA is also proposing to improve emergency exits in motorcoaches and large buses by requiring that emergency exit latches remain operable after the proposed impact tests and by limiting the protrusions of emergency exit latches into emergency exit window openings to ensure they do not unduly hinder emergency egress.