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NHTSA Addresses Ejections In Bus Accidents

Thursday, June 30, 2016

In light of the Texas charter bus accident that claimed eight lives and injured dozens on May 14, 2016, it is worth noting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently announced a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard intended to reduce injuries and fatalities in bus accidents by reducing ejections.

New Test on Windows

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) requires a new impactor test on side and rear window glazing material as well as on the glass panels found on the roofs of many motor coaches and large buses. The test is intended to simulate the impact of a non-belted passenger on a window on the opposite side of the bus during a rollover accident.

NHTSA wants to promote more advanced glazing on bus windows and better latch systems on emergency exits.

Previous Efforts to Limit Ejections

Previously, NHTSA prioritized the problem of occupant ejection in its DOT Motor Coach Safety Action Plan. This effort to mitigate ejections follows a "final rule" issued in 2013 that required seat belts at all seating positions in motor coaches. This was followed by a 2014 NPRM that seeks to:

  • improve structural integrity during rollovers
  • better ensure that window glazing does not pop out of window mounts
  • emergency exits do not accidentally open in rollovers.

NHTSA is also developing new performance requirements for roof panels, windows and exit latches. For example, the federal agency wants to see that emergency exit latches still operate after exits are subjected to impactor testing.

When an individual is a victim in a bus accident, it is often possible to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain-and-suffering and lost wages. If you or a family member is in a bus accident, it's possible to discuss the matter with a bus accident attorney. Our firm provides this consultation without cost or obligation. To learn more, please contact us.


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