Tuesday, August 5, 2014

NHTSA Proposes New Rollover Safety Standards

The Chicago Tribune reports that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new passenger protection standards for large buses. This proposal is specifically geared toward protecting passengers in rollover crashes.

Practical implementation of the proposal would require improvements to bus structural integrity. For passengers this would ensure sufficient space to move and functional emergency exits in the aftermath of a crash. Seats, overhead luggage racks and window glazing would also be required to hold steady to their mountings after impact.

"Stronger large bus structures, combined with seat belt use will help keep passengers secured and protected in the event of a crash," David Friedman, NHTSA's acting administrator, says.

NHTSA says the requirements are inspired by and modeled closely after European standards for large buses.

According to the agency, the best way to test compliance is to tip a vehicle over from a raised platform onto a hard surface.

The public will have a chance to comment on the proposal for 60 days. NHTSA is proposing a compliance date approximately 3 years after the final rule is published.

The Transportation Department (which the NHTSA is a part of) is separately planning to finalize requirements for stability control technologies in large buses to prevent rollovers from occurring in the first place.