School Bus Seat Belts
Based on the results of a bus research program detailed in a 2002 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report that examined ways to further improve school bus safety, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing several upgrades to the school passenger crash protection requirements. The proposed regulation would require lap/shoulder belts in lieu of the lap belts currently specified for new school buses of a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less. For larger buses, the regulation provides guidance to state and local jurisdictions, which would continue to decide whether to install belts on these larger school buses. The regulation proposes performance requirements for those voluntarily-installed seat belts. Other proposed changes include (1) increasing the minimum seat back height requirement for all buses from 20 to 24 inches; (2) incorporating procedures to test lap/shoulder belts for small and for large buses; and (3) requiring seat bottom cushions designed to flip-up, typically for easy cleaning, to have self-latching mechanisms. Comments are due by January 22, 2008.
72 Fed. Reg. 65509 (Nov. 21, 2007)
DOT proposed regulation