WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a series of new recommendations — some of which could affect school buses — to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The recommendations are as follows:
• Require new commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating above 10,000 pounds to be equipped with lane departure warning systems.
• To maintain consistency in bus body classifications and to clarify the scope of bus safety initiatives, develop regulatory definitions and classifications for each of the different bus body types that would apply to all U.S. Department of Transportation agencies and promote use of the definitions among the bus industry and state governments.
• In your rulemaking to improve motorcoach roof strength, occupant protection and window glazing standards, include all buses with a gross vehicle weight rating above 10,000 pounds, other than school buses.
• Develop performance standards for all newly manufactured buses with a gross vehicle weight rating above 10,000 pounds to require that overhead luggage racks are constructed and installed to prevent head and neck injuries and remain anchored during an accident sequence.
• Develop stability control system performance standards applicable to newly manufactured buses with a gross vehicle weight rating above 10,000 pounds.
• Once the performance standards in the previous recommendation have been developed, require the installation of stability control systems in all newly manufactured buses in which this technology could have a safety benefit.
• Require that all buses above 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating be equipped with on-board recording systems that:
(1) record vehicle parameters, including, at minimum, lateral acceleration, longitudinal acceleration, vertical acceleration, heading, vehicle speed, engine speed, driver's seat belt status, braking input, steering input, gear selection, turn signal status (left/right), brake light status (on/off), head/tail light status (on/off), passenger door status (open/closed), emergency door status (open/closed), hazard light status (on/off), brake system status (normal/warning) and flashing red light status (on/off; school buses only);
(2) record status of additional seat belts, airbag deployment criteria, airbag deployment time and airbag deployment energy;
(3) record data at a sampling rate sufficient to define vehicle dynamics and be capable of preserving data in the event of a vehicle crash or an electrical power loss;
(4) are mounted to the bus body, not the chassis, to ensure recording of the necessary data to define bus body motion.