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INDICATIONS THAT THE STRUCTURAL ASSEMBLY OF SCHOOLBUS BODIES M BE INADEQUATE WERE FOUND AND REPORTED BY THE SAFETY BOARD IN A GRADECROSSING ACCIDENT WHICH OCCURRED OCTOBER 2, 1967, AT WATERLOO, NEBRASKA. THAT ACCIDENT SHOWED THAT MAJOR ELEMENTS OF THE SCHOOLBUS BODY HAD SEPARATED CLEANLY UNDER CRASH FORCES. THIS SEPARATION INVOLVED HIGHCRASH FORCES PRODUCED BY THE COLLISION BETWEEN A TRAIN AND A SCHOOLBUS. THE SEPARATIONS OCCURRED WHERE FASTENERS USED TO ASSEMBLE MANY ELEMENTS OF THE SCHOOLBUS WERE FEW AND WIDELY SPACED. BECAUSE NO OBSERVATIONS OF INJURIES WERE MADE, IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE SPACING OF THE FASTENERS CONTRIBUTED TO THE FOUR FATALITIES IN THAT ACCIDENT. SINCE THAT TIME, THE SAFETY BOARD HAS REVIEWED TWO ADDITIONAL ACCIDENT REPORTS IN WHICH THERE IS SUFFICIENT INFORMATION TO RELATE CERTAIN FEATURES OF THE SCHOOLBUS STRUCTURAL FASTENINGS TO THE INJURIES.
THE BOARD HAS DISCUSSED ITS SPECIAL STUDY "INADEQUATE STRUCTURE ASSEMBLY OF SCHOOLBUS BODIES" WITH THE VEHICLE EQUIPMENT SAFETY COMMISSION (VESC), OFFICERS AND MEMBERS OF THE SCHOOLBUS MANUFACTURING INSTITUTE AND OF THE WARD COMPANY. VESC WILL ISSUE STANDARDS, WARD SCHOOLBUS MANUFACTURING COMPANY INDICATED THEY WOULD WELCOME A NHTSA STANDARD SPECIFYING JOINT STRENGTH AND SCHOOLBUS BODY STRENGTH. THE BOARD URGES THE NHTSA TO MOVE EXPEDITIOUSLY IN THIS FIELD.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable Action
Waterloo, NE, United States
Waterloo, Nebraska, Public School, School Bus and Union Pacific Railroad Company Freight Train Accident
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
NHTSA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Safety Recommendation History
NHTSA LETTER RECOGNIZES THAT A NUMBER OF WEAKNESSES EXIST IN T MANUFACTURE OF SCHOOLBUSES AS ILLUSTRATED IN THE BOARD'S STUDY, AND THAT THERE IS A NEED TO TAKE CORRECTIVE ACTION TO IMPROVE OVERALL SCHOOLBUS CRASHWORTHINESS. IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER 1970 THE NHTSA (MOTOR VEHICLE PROGRAMS OFFICE-MVP) CONDUCTED DETAILED STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF THE ADEQUACY OF THE OUTER SHELL RIVETING THAT EXISTED FOR FOUR MANUFACTURERS CONFIGURATIONS. ON DECEMBER 1, 1970, NHTSA MET WITH VESC REPRESENTATIVES AND A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF THE MVP FASTENER ANALYSIS WAS PRESENTED AND SUGGESTED INCLUSIONS FOR THE VESC STANDARD. THE VESC REGULATION NO. 6, "MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR SCHOOL BUS CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPMENT" DATED JANUARY 1971 DOES NOT INCORPORATE THE SUGGESTIONS OF MVP NOR DOES IT INCORPORATE THE CRITERIA SPECIFIED IN SAE J492 "RIVETS AND RIVETING". NHTSA HAS CURRENT RULE MAKING ACTIONS CONCERNING PROPOSED STANDARDS FOR IMPROVING SCHOOLBUS STRUCTURES INCLUDING, WINDOWS, WINDOW FRAMES, SEATING STRUCTURES, ENERGY ABSORPTION PADDING, SEAT ANCHORAGE STRENGTH AND CUSHION RETENTION. PRELIMINARY PLANNING IN MVP ADDRESSES PROPOSED STANDARDS TO COVER BODY CRASHWORTHINESS ENTAILING REQUIREMENTS FOR ROOF AND SIDE RESISTANCE TO INTRUSION. THE NHTSA IS NOT IN A POSITION TO RECOMMEND OR ENDORSE ANY PARTICULAR DESIGN CONFIGURATION SUCH AS STRUCTURAL RIVETING. IT IS THEIR POLICY TO ISSUE PERFORMANCE ORIENTED SAFETY STANDARDS WHICH ACHIEVE MINIMUM PERFORMANCE LEVELS. 1/22/74 THE NHTSA PUBLISHED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER, VOLUME 39, NO. 15, TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 1974, PAGES 2490-1, A NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING (DOCKET NO. 73-34, NOTICE 1) TITLED SCHOOL BUS BODY JOINT STRENGTH. THIS NPRM PROPOSES THAT EACH JOINT WILL HAVE AT LEAST 60% OF THE STRENGTH OF THE WEAKEST JOINED PART. THE NPRM ALSO SETS FORTH A TEST PROCEDURE TO MAKE POSSIBLE AN OBJECTIVE DETERMINATION OF A JOINT'S STRENGTH.
Notation 344A: Reference is made to the Federal Highway Administration’s proposed rulemaking in Docket Number 69-14, Notice I, concerning horns and other audible warning devices for highway vehicles. It is highly desirable that warning be both deliverable and receivable, in many operations of highway vehicles, and the consideration of this subject is very welcome. The Safety Board wishes to call attention to our prior recommendation regarding this subject. In our reports of the grade-crossing accident at Sacramento, California, and Waterloo, Nebraska, we recommended that “FHWA study the questionable audibility of external sound signals within motor vehicles, both in relation to grade-crossing signals and train horns, and for all other audible warnings which can assist a driver. Such a study should be executed in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration, and should be aimed toward creating a unified system of warnings and reliable reception which could be made effective through Federal regulation and State laws.” From the wording in Docket Number 69-14, it appears that our recommendation may not have been considered in the framing of the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM). The question of the audibility of external signals in other vehicles is discernible in the ANPRM only by implication. There is no indication of any concept of a unified system intended to address the entire problem of existing unreliable audible warnings, and of course that includes a warning systems by means other than audio signals. We believe it is necessary to define the conditions under which warnings are to be receivable, and the definition of these conditions is a substantial task which should precede the final notice of proposed rulemaking for standards for transmitting devices. Among the conditions which should be considered are (1) pedestrians and drivers of varying hearing ability (no State prohibits totally deaf drivers); (2) Interference within signals due to competing signals of other traffic; (3) reception interference caused by engine noise or noise of the receiving vehicle, radio sounds, air conditioner operation, children’s shouts or pet noises, and complete closing of the vehicle window. To meet these problems, the Board has been advised of a number of possible devices including such no radio-operated warning, external sound and sound filtering devices, dash methods. Many of these devices would involve modification of the receiving vehicle, whether the ANPRM… text unreadable…. It should also be observed that warning problems entirely made by audible signals will necessarily increase noise pollution and thus tend to degrade environmental quality. The Safety Boar5d is aware of the contract issued by the Federal Railroad Administration for a study of train visual and audible warnings as related to highway grade crossings. We feel certain that some FHWA members of that group are cognizant of the need for a full approach which includes reliable reception; however, that need is not directly apparent in the ANPRM. It is recommended that the Safety Board’s recommendation in the Sacramento and Waterloo report be included in connection with the formulation of the next notice of proposed rulemaking under Docket Number 69-14. Specific and systematic consideration should be given to a definition by FHWA of the full spectrum of reception conditions which exist, including those mentioned above. FHWA should determine what is needed to operate under existing conditions effectively. Further, other methods of warning between vehicles should be considered, and especially those which do not add to noise pollution. Your consideration of this recommendation will be appreciated.
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