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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-74-025
Details
Synopsis: AT 4:30 P.M.,E.D.S.T., ON AUGUST 8, 1973 A 1972 MUSTANG CARRYING FIVE TEENAGERS WAS DRIVEN ONTO THE ELECTRIFIED TRACKS OF THE LONG ISLAND RAILROAD BY AN UNLICENSED 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL. THE CAR'S CONTACT WITH THE THIRD RAIL CAUSED A MOMENTARY SHORT CIRCUIT AND INITIATED SEVERE ELECTRICAL ARCING. THE CAR IMMEDIATELY BEGAN TO BURN AT THE FRONT, AND THE FIRE SPREAD TO THE REAR. THE TWO GIRLS IN THE FRONT SEATS ESCAPED THROUGH THE RIGHT DOOR. THE THREE GIRLS IN THE BACK SEAT DIED IN THE FIRE.
Recommendation: THE NTSB RECOMMENDS THAT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: REVISE SECTION S.5.5.2 OF THE PROPOSED NEW FMVSS TO INCLUDE NOT ONLY A STANDARD LOCATION OF SEATBACK LATCHES, BUT ALSO A SINGLE, STANDARD METHOD OF OPERATION OF THE LATCHES AND A PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENT THAT WOULD HAVE THE EFFECTS OF (1) A POSITIVE QUICK-DISCONNECT MECHANISM OPERABLE WITH A MINIMUM FORCE REGARDLESS OF THE LOADING BEING APPLIED TO THE SEATBACK, AND (2) A MECHANISM TO LATCH SEATBACKS IN THE FORWARD POSITION.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Garden City, NY, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 79759
Accident Reports: Automobile Intrusion Onto the Long Island Railroad Electrified Tracks and Fire
Report #: HAR-74-03
Accident Date: 8/8/1973
Issue Date: 10/9/1974
Date Closed: 4/7/1986
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: NHTSA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 4/7/1986
Response:

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/27/1985
Response: NHTSA LTR: THE FIGURES REQUESTED BY THE BOARD ESTIMATING THE NUMBER OF 1978 CARS WITH INERTIAL SEAT BACK LATCH SYSTEMS ARE NOT AVAILABLE. HOWEVER, AS OF 1985, INERTIAL SEAT BACK LATCH SYSTEMS ARE PREDOMINANTLY STANDARD EQUIPMENT ON 2-DOOR DOMESTIC PASSENGER CARS. THE NON-INERTIAL SYSTEM IS AN EXCEPTION RATHER THAN THE RULE FOR DOMESTIC VEHICLES. IMPORTED VEHICLES HAVE THE NON-INERTIAL SYSTEMS. TO DATE, AVAILABLE ACCIDENT DATA DO NOT INDICATE THAT EITHER THE INERTIAL OR NON-INTERIAL SEAT BACK LATCHES ARE A PROBLEM.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 9/6/1985
Response:

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/18/1974
Response: NHTSA LETTER INDICATED THAT THE RECOMMENDATION HAS MERIT AND WILL BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION FOR FUTURE RULE MAKING ACTION IF ACCIDENT DATA INDICATES THAT THE CURRENT NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING DOCKET 74-13; NOTICE 1, WHICH PROPOSES A STANDARD LOCATION FOR THE SEATBACK LATCH CONTROL AND ADDRESSES THE PROBLEM OF EGRESS FROM THE REAR SEATS OF MOTOR VEHICLES IS INADEQUATE. NHTSA IS NOT AWARE OF ANY AVAILABLE DATA THAT INDICATES THAT A MECHANISM TO LATCH SEATBACKS IN THE FORWARD POSITION WOULD REDUCE OR PREVENT FATALITIES AS NOTED IN THE REPORT.4-14-78. LETTER FROM NHTSA IN RESPONSE TO NTSB LETTEROF 2/23/78. A NUMBER OF MANUFACTURERS ARE USING THE INERTIAL SYSTEM FOR SEAT BACK LATCHES IN LIEU OF MECHANICAL SYSTEM. NHTSA STAFF WILL PROVI^E NTSB WITH ESTIMATES OF THE EXTENT TOWHICH THESE INERTIAL SYSTEMS WILL BE AVIALABLE ON 1978 CARS.