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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-18-063
Details
Synopsis: On March 29, 2017, about 12:20 p.m., a 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup truck, occupied by a 20-year-old driver, was traveling north on US Highway 83, near Concan, Texas, when it crossed into the southbound lane and collided with a medium-size bus. The crash occurred near milepost 553.4, near the end of a right-hand curve. The bus was a 2004 Ford E350 Turtle Top Van Terra medium-size bus occupied by a 66-year-old driver and 13 passengers and operated by the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas. As a result of the crash, the bus driver and 12 passengers were fatally injured. The driver of the truck and one bus passenger sustained serious injuries.
Recommendation: TO THE SEAT MANUFACTURERS FREEDMAN SEATING COMPANY AND HSM TRANSPORTATION SOLUTIONS: Supply seating systems equipped with lap/shoulder belts as standard, rather than optional, equipment for medium-size buses.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Concan, TX, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY17MH011
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report: Highway: HWY17MH011Pickup Truck Centerline Crossover Collision With Medium-Size Bus on US Highway 83, Concan, Texas, March 29, 2017
Report #: HAR-18-02
Accident Date: 3/29/2017
Issue Date: 11/20/2018
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Freedman Seating Company (Open - Acceptable Response)
HSM Transportation Solutions (Open - Await Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Freedman Seating Company
Date: 4/24/2019
Response: We appreciate your party-member participation during the Concan investigation and your proactive decision to no longer manufacture lap belts with narrow anchorage points. We encourage you to continue your commitment to safety by only supplying seating systems equipped with standard lap/shoulder belts. We recognize that there is currently no federal requirement for medium size buses to have lap/shoulder belts, and that is why we continue to ask the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to address this critical safety deficiency. In the interim, we are asking the medium-size bus industry to take the lead and provide a greater level of occupant protection for passengers in this underregulated type of vehicle. We are pleased that you offer, and encourage your customers to purchase, seats with lap/shoulder belts; your efforts begin to address the intent of this recommendation. Pending your notifying us that you only supply the recommended equipment, Safety Recommendation H-18-63 is classified “OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Freedman Seating Company
To: NTSB
Date: 2/12/2019
Response: -David Cohen, President: On behalf of Freedman Seating Company (“Freedman”) I want to thank you for giving us an opportunity to participate in the above-referenced accident investigation as a party to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) safety investigation. I trust you will agree that Freedman provided significant technical assistance to the NTSB’s evidence documentation and fact-finding activities. We agree with NTSB’s conclusion that the cause of the tragic highway accident that took place on March 29, 2017 in Concan, Texas was the failure of the pickup truck driver to control his vehicle due to impairment. We share NTSB’s concern that additional efforts are needed to reduce the fatalities, injuries, and crashes caused by drug and alcohol impaired drivers. Freedman is North America’s leading supplier of transportation seating and safety solutions. In the 125 years that it has been in business Freedman has constantly strived to enhance passenger safety. Indeed, in its Highway Accident Report NTSB acknowledged Freedman’s ongoing commitment to safety by recognizing that Freedman no longer manufactures seats with narrow lap belt anchorage points. Currently, medium-size buses, such as that involved in the March 29, 2017 accident, are excluded from any rule(s) requiring buses be equipped with lap/shoulder belts at the driver and all passenger seating positions. Nevertheless, NTSB has now recommended that medium-size bus manufacturers install lap/shoulder belts in all seating positions as standard, rather than optional, equipment in all newly manufactured medium-size buses. Additionally, NTSB has recommended that Freedman supply seating systems equipped with lap/shoulder belts as standard, rather than optional, equipment for medium-size buses. Bus manufacturers determine what seats to purchase for their medium-size buses. A different floor structure and/or reinforcement is typically required for a bus manufacturer to accommodate the higher loads associated with integral 3-point belt systems compared to those associated with lap belt restraint systems. While Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards do not require 3-point restraints on mid-sized buses, Freedman strongly encourages these systems to customers, despite the increased cost and increased weight associated with them. Indeed, Freedman manufactures several seats for small and mid-size buses and vans that contain integrated 3-point seat belts. However, many public and private purchasers are unwilling to accept a reduction in passenger capacity or incur the added expense necessary to accommodate integral 3-point belts. As is evident from our willingness to act as a party to the accident investigation, Freedman is dedicated to passenger safety. Freedman is committed to work with NTSB to ensure that all members of the mid-sized bus industry, including OEMs and suppliers, are governed by the same set of rules. We would welcome any new laws or rules that would level the playing field for all bus seating suppliers to supply only seats with integrated 3-point belts, regardless of the bus weight or type.

From: NTSB
To: Freedman Seating Company
Date: 11/20/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On October 16, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Pickup Truck Centerline Crossover Collision With Medium-Size Bus on US Highway 83, Concan, Texas, March 29, 2017, NTSB/HAR 18/02. The details of this investigation and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to Freedman Seating Company and one other seating manufacturer, which can be found on page 47 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement it. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.

From: NTSB
To: HSM Transportation Solutions
Date: 11/20/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On October 16, 2018, the NTSB adopted its report Pickup Truck Centerline Crossover Collision With Medium-Size Bus on US Highway 83, Concan, Texas, March 29, 2017, NTSB/HAR 18/02. The details of this investigation and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at www.ntsb.gov. Among the safety recommendations is one new recommendation issued to HSM Transportation Solutions and one other seating manufacturer, which can be found on page 47 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement it. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to correspondence@ntsb.gov. If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.