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NHTSA Calls for Higher Standards for Motorcoaches

Posted by appsoftdev on February 18, 2015

Motorcoach on city street

Long before the first student steps aboard, school buses are tested to assure they meet or exceed strict federal roof-strength standards. Now, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration aims to hold chartered motorcoaches that transport students to similar standards.

The NHTSA recently proposed a new rule to enhance rollover structural integrity of motorcoaches and over-the-road buses to better protect passengers in the event of a crash to improve roof strength. The rule would require all newly manufactured large buses to comply with standards of a roof-crush test that tips vehicles over from an 800 mm raised platform onto a level ground surface. It also would require that new vehicles provide a "sufficient level of survival space" to restrained occupants in rollover crashes; that seats and overhead luggage racks remain secured; that window glazing remains attached to its mounting during and after a rollover crash; and that emergency exits remain closed during the rollover crash and operable after the crash.

Fatal rollover crashes account for an average of just one-third of all fatal crashes involving these bus types. Yet, they represent more than half of all the occupant fatalities. Plus, upward of two-thirds of the rollover crash fatalities result in an occupant being thrown from the vehicle - a factor that can cause devastating injuries, fatal and non-fatal.

Statistics show that from 2000 through 2009, 87 fatal motorcoach crashes claimed the lives of 209 people. Of those fatalities, 32 were a direct result of rollover crashes. These figures equate to an average of 21 fatalities a year in these crashes, compared to an average of six a year in school bus crashes.

We here at Todd E. Copeland & Associates support any legislation that keeps drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe on our nation's roadways. If you suffer an injury while riding or driving a chartered motorcoach or other bus that you believe may fall short of safety standards, get medical treatment. Then, call 407-999-8995 to speak with a vehicle rollover lawyer with Orlando's Todd E. Copeland & Associates.