Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-99-049
Details
Synopsis: School bus and motorcoach travel are two of the safest forms of transportation in the united states. Each year, on average, nine school bus passengers and four motorcoach passengers are fatally injured in bus crashes, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and motorcoach industry statistics. In comparison, NHTSA statistics show that in 1998, over 41,000 people were fatally injured in highway crashes. Although much has been done to improve the safety of school buses and motorcoaches over the years, the safe transportation of bus passengers, especially students and senior citizens, continues to be a national safety priority. Children and seniors are predicted to be the fastest growing segments of our society, and these groups are the primary users of bus transportation. Therefore, the national transportation safety board initiated a special investigation to determine whether additional measures should be taken to better protect bus occupants.
Recommendation: TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Expand your research on current advanced glazing to include its applicability to motorcoach occupant ejection prevention, and revise window glazing requirements for newly manufactured motorcoaches based on the results of this research.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Unacceptable Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Washington, DC, United States
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: 80399
Accident Reports:
Report #: SIR-99-04
Accident Date: 11/2/1999
Issue Date: 11/2/1999
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: NHTSA (Open - Unacceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 5/29/2019
Response: Although we were initially appreciative of your response to this recommendation, we became concerned when we read the Federal Register withdrawal notice for your June 21, 2012, notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed revising Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205, “Glazing materials,” to harmonize it with Global Technical Regulation No. 6, “Safety Glazing Materials for Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment.” We were reassured to learn that the withdrawal notice did not affect the 2014 and 2016 NPRMs indicated in your letter. We are encouraged by your ongoing rulemaking efforts to improve window glazing requirements; however, we are disappointed that a final rule to address this important safety issue is still pending. We continue to investigate crashes in which motorcoach windows are compromised, and we are very concerned that this recommendation remains open 20 years after it was issued. This is one reason we have included the issue area “Strengthen Occupant Protection” on our 2019–2010 Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements, and we urge you to publish the long promised rules. Due to the age of this recommendation and the continued rulemaking delays, Safety Recommendation H-99-49 remains classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/26/2019
Response: -From Jonathan Morrison, Chief Counsel: NHTSA published and sought public comment on two proposed rulemakings for (1) Improving structural integrity of motorcoaches (to maintain the occupant survival space and retain window glazing in a rollover), and (2) Enhancing glazing retention requirements (for windows and other portals in motorcoaches to prevent occupant ejections). NHTSA is working on the next steps for these rulemakings. For more information, please see: August 2014 NPRM Motorcoach Rollover Structural Integrity https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgenda ViewRule?publd=20181O&RIN=2 l27-AK96May 2016 NPRM Advanced Glazing and Anti-Ejection Countermeasures https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgenda ViewRule?publd=20181O&RIN=2l27-AL36 NHTSA requests that this recommendation be classified as Open, Acceptable Response. If you have any questions, or require additional information, please contact me or Sara Peters, Deputy Director, Governmental Affairs, Policy and Strategic Planning

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 12/4/2018
Response: This SR was reiterated as a result of NTSB Highway Accident Report, “Motorcoach Run-Off-the-Road and Overturn US Highway 83 Laredo, Texas, May 14, 2016.” Report Number HAR-18-03. Adopted on November 7, 2018 and published on December 4, 2018. 2.5.2 Window Glazing During the crash sequence, the motorcoach yawed clockwise, rolled onto its left side, and came to rest with its front end partially on the easternmost edge of the road and its middle and rear on the eastern shoulder and ground (to the right of the northbound lanes). At some point during this sequence, the motorcoach’s left side window glazing failed, and some passengers were ejected. Evaluation of the medical records, autopsy reports, and other crash evidence indicates that a significant number of the seriously injured passengers were partially ejected, and it is likely that all of those passengers who died were either partially or fully ejected. Further, all the passengers who died suffered crushing injuries to the chest or head or both. These injury patterns, as well as the locations of the deceased at the crash scene—they were found under the left side of the vehicle—suggest that those who were fatally injured were ejected through the left side window glazing. The exact mechanisms for ejection could not be determined, but the following are possible scenarios: • The window glazing might have been compromised by the initial impact with the ground or by subsequent impacts, as the left side of the vehicle slid across the ground. • As the motorcoach rolled to the left, passengers might have fallen toward the windows and struck the glazing with sufficient force to break it. • Passengers seated next to windows might have had other passengers fall onto them, pushing them into the windows, causing the windows to break. Because lap/shoulder belts are now required on newly manufactured motorcoaches, and because many bus manufacturers had elected to install passenger lap/shoulder belts before the requirement went into effect in November 2016, some motorcoaches are already equipped with passenger restraints. Had the Laredo motorcoach been equipped with such restraints, and had the passengers used them, the movement of passengers into the windows during the crash sequence would have been curtailed. The NTSB concludes that, had the Laredo motorcoach passengers been restrained by seat belts, the potential for window breakage would have been reduced, but the flailing of the occupants nearest the windows and the contact with the ground would still have provided significant potential for window breakage. Advanced window glazing is less likely to break in a crash. NHTSA has conducted research on advanced window glazing with the objective of retaining the windows and preventing occupant ejections. The NTSB has supported this work and, in its 1999 special investigation report on Bus Crashworthiness Issues, made the following safety recommendation to NHTSA (NTSB 1999b): Expand your research on current advanced glazing to include its applicability to motorcoach occupant ejection prevention, and revise window glazing requirements for newly manufactured motorcoaches based on the results of this research. (H-99-49) The recommendation is currently “Open—Unacceptable Response.” On May 6, 2016, NHTSA issued an NPRM titled “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Bus Emergency Exits and Window Retention and Release, Anti-Ejection Glazing for Bus Portals.” The NPRM established NHTSA’s intent to require advanced window glazing in high-occupancy buses (motorcoaches) and non-over-the-road buses with GVWRs greater than 26,000 pounds. The proposed standard would specify impactor testing of glazing materials and apply performance requirements for windows or glass panels on the sides, rear, and roof of the bus, to mitigate ejection and ensure that emergency exits remain operable. The NTSB concludes that the severity of the injuries experienced by those passengers who were ejected through the windows might have been mitigated by the effects of the use of seats belts to reduce the uncontrolled movement of passengers during the crash sequence, coupled with advanced window glazing to lessen the potential for ejections. The NTSB further concludes that the effectiveness of motorcoach occupant protection would be improved by passenger lap/shoulder belts and advanced window glazing because these safety features reduce the potential for belted passengers to fall across the vehicle during a rollover and to break out windows. Given the likely reduction in ejections during rollover crashes that could result when motorcoaches equipped with passenger seat belts are also furnished with advanced window glazing, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendation H-99-49 to NHTSA.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 11/13/2017
Response: Although we are encouraged by your efforts to publish the May 6, 2016, notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to improve window glazing requirements, we are disappointed that a final rule to address this important safety issue is still pending. We continue to investigate accidents in which motorcoach windows are compromised, and we are very concerned that this recommendation remains open 18 years after its issuance. Accordingly, Safety Recommendation H-99-49 remains classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 7/5/2016
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Bus Emergency Exits and Window Retention and Release, Anti-Ejection Glazing for Bus Portals,” which was published at 81 Federal Register 27904 on May 6, 2016. The notice proposes a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 217a to require the installation of advanced window glazing in high-occupancy buses and non over the-road buses with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 11,793 kilograms (26,000 pounds). The term “high-occupancy buses” is used generally to describe over-the-road buses of any weight (commonly referred to as motorcoaches). The proposed standard would specify impactor testing of glazing material and apply performance requirements for windows or glass panels on the sides, rear, and roof of the bus, to mitigate ejection and ensure that emergency exits remain operable. The proposed standard would also limit the protrusion of emergency exit latches into the emergency exit window opening to reduce hindrances to egress for these buses as well as new school buses. The NTSB supports NHTSA’s effort to develop a standard aimed at reducing partial and full passenger ejections from these vehicles. The proposed standard is based on the agency’s research on advanced glazing, and the NTSB is pleased that NHTSA is working to respond to NTSB Safety Recommendation H-99-49, which recommends that NHTSA— Expand your research on current advanced glazing to include its applicability to motorcoach occupant ejection prevention, and revise window glazing requirements for newly manufactured motorcoaches based on the results of this research. (H-99-49) Further, the NTSB agrees that emergency exit window latches need to be functional after a crash to ensure that passengers can egress through all viable exits; consequently, the NTSB supports testing the latches after impact tests. In addition to expressing our general support for the rulemaking effort, the NTSB would like to provide specific comments on the NPRM in the following three areas: (1) Limiting emergency exit latch protrusion and enabling the window to remain open independently; (2) Retrofitting existing buses with new latch designs; and (3) Applying this rulemaking to other buses, such as medium-size buses.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 2/10/2014
Response: Although we are encouraged by your efforts to initiate rulemaking to address the structural integrity of motorcoaches and to allow for further work to improve window glazing requirements, we are concerned about your slow progress in implementing these recommendations. Because we continue to investigate accidents in which motorcoach roof structures and windows have been compromised, we have reiterated these recommendations in multiple accidents (New Orleans, Lousiana; Sherman, Texas; Doswell, Virginia); nevertheless, they remain open more than 14 years after we issued them. Accordingly, pending evidence of significant action, such as actual rulemaking, Safety Recommendations H-99-49 through -51 remain classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 8/16/2012
Response: From the NTSB report Motorcoach roadway departure and overturn on Interstate 95 near Doswell, Virginia on May 31, 2011 (report adopted July 31, 2012, report published August 16, 2012): The NTSB has a long history of investigating accidents involving the inadequacy of occupant protection systems on motorcoaches. The Board’s 2008 report on its investigation of a motorcoach accident in Atlanta, Georgia,91 lists 33 motorcoach accidents investigated, and since then, the NTSB has completed 6 more major investigations of this type. Nearly all these investigations have considered the issue of motorcoach occupant protection, with particular emphasis on the need to prevent ejections and maintain survivable space in the event of an accident. The following NTSB recommendations to NHTSA on occupant protection and roof strength standards, which were originally made in the NTSB’s 1999 report on selective motorcoach issues, are classified “Open—Unacceptable Response:”92 In 2 years, develop performance standards for motorcoach occupant protection systems that account for frontal impact collisions, side impact collisions, rear impact collisions, and rollovers. (H-99-47) Once pertinent standards have been developed for motorcoach occupant protection systems, require newly manufactured motorcoaches to have an occupant crash protection system that meets the newly developed performance standards and retains passengers, including those in child safety restraint systems, within the seating compartment throughout the accident sequence for all accident scenarios. (H-99-48) In 2 years, develop performance standards for motorcoach roof strength that provide maximum survival space for all seating positions and that take into account current typical motorcoach window dimensions. (H-99-50) Once performance standards have been developed for motorcoach roof strength, require newly manufactured motorcoaches to meet those standards. (H-99-51) In spring 2009, partially in response to open NTSB safety recommendations, the Secretary of Transportation ordered a full departmental review of motorcoach safety. Based on this review, on November 16, 2009, the DOT published a Motorcoach Safety Action Plan that described a systems-oriented approach for enhancing motorcoach safety.93 Three of the plan’s seven action items—roof strength, seat belts, and accident avoidance technology—address the prevention or mitigation of the effects of rollovers. In August 2010, NHTSA published an NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 208 on occupant crash protection to require lap/shoulder belts for each passenger seating position in new motorcoaches. The NPRM also proposed to require a lap/shoulder belt for the motorcoach and large school bus drivers’ seating positions, which currently are required to have either a lap-only belt or a lap/shoulder belt. NHTSA is expected to publish an NPRM on roof strength standards for motorcoaches94 and a final rule on motorcoach occupant crash protection later this year. School buses have long demonstrated the ability to resist roof crush during rollover events in real-world accidents and in NHTSA testing (based on FMVSS No. 220 for school bus rollover protection). NHTSA has tested motorcoaches to the school bus roof strength standard. The two motorcoaches NHTSA tested in this fashion showed roof displacements of more than five times the allowable limit. Although NHTSA is working to improve occupant protection and roof strength on motorcoaches, standards are needed to advance these efforts effectively. In its report on the New York City accident, the NTSB concluded that even in severe intrusion events, passenger lap/shoulder belts would most likely mitigate serious and fatal injuries for some passengers. As a result, the NTSB reiterated Safety Recommendations H-99-47 and -48.95 The occupant protection failures in the Doswell motorcoach rollover further emphasize the need for full and prompt implementation of these recommendations. On this basis, the NTSB again reiterates Safety Recommendations H-99-47 and -48 to NHTSA, and these recommendations remain classified “Open—Unacceptable Response.” Further, given that the roof collapse of the motorcoach in the Doswell accident had such catastrophic consequences in terms of passenger deaths and injuries, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendations H-99-50 and -51 to NHTSA, and these recommendations remain classified “Open—Unacceptable Response.” Window glazing is also important for a complete occupant protection system. Window glazing that remains intact can act as a form of passive occupant protection by preventing full ejection of unrestrained passengers and reducing injuries due to partial ejection of restrained passengers. One of the objectives under the occupant protection category of vehicle integrity in the DOT Motorcoach Safety Action Plan is to accelerate research on improved glazing and window retention techniques. This effort was planned to follow the development of roof crush performance requirements. Also in its 1999 report on motorcoach issues, the NTSB made the following recommendation concerning window glazing to NHTSA:96 Expand your research on current advanced glazing to include its applicability to motorcoach occupant ejection prevention, and revise window glazing requirements for newly manufactured motorcoaches based on the results of this research. (H-99-49) The recommendation is currently classified “Open—Acceptable Response.” Two occupants of the accident motorcoach were partially ejected due to the collapse of the roof and the loss of the window glazing; the vehicle structure subsequently struck these two occupants during the roof collapse, causing fatal crushing injuries. Therefore, the NTSB concludes that the loss of window glazing contributed to the fatalities in this accident, in connection with the deterioration of vehicle integrity due to the roof collapse. Consequently, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendation H-99-49 and classifies it OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 1/11/2011
Response:

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/6/2008
Response: MC# 2100248 - From David Kelly, Acting Administrator, via e-mail from Karen Lynch: Attached is a letter to NTSB from NHTSA requesting closure of H-99-43 and H-99-44 regarding standard definitions and classifications for buses. The letter was sent to NTSB on October 6, 2008. Please note that NHTSA updated the MMUC in consultation with NTSB as an alternative approach to addressing the safety recommendations. The 2008 MMUCC guidelines are available at http://www.mmucc.us/2008MMUCCGuideline.pdf. We have made it easier to identify motorcoaches through the MMUCC by using the following data elements: - body type: (attributes: school bus, motorcoach, transit bus, motor home, other bus) And - bus use: (school, intercity, charter/tour, shuttle, transit/commuter) fields. I checked NTSB’s online safety recommendations database and it doesn’t look like this letter was captured in your correspondence management system. If you need NHTSA to resubmit the letter to NTSB, please let me know, otherwise we look forward to seeing the Board’s response to the agency’s request for closure. LETTER DATED 10/8/2008 from David Kelly, Acting Administrator: This letter is intended to provide a formal status of three safety recommendations (H-99-43, H-99-44, and H-99-49) in accordance with informal staff briefings over the past 2 years, and to request that the recommendations be reclassified as cIosed, acceptable alternate. In April 2003, NHTSA and Transport Canada entered into a joint program that was completed in September 2006. This program focused on improving glazing and structural integrity on motorcoaches to prevent ejections, using standard coach windows and different variations of glazing and bonding techniques. The agency concluded that considerably more effort would be needed to develop performance requirements for improved glazing, and with considerable uncertainty on the effectiveness of reducing ejections. NHTSA's Approach to Motorcoach Safety determined that development of requirements for seat belts on motorcoaches and roof strength would provide a much more expedient way to achieve reductions in motorcoach ejections. Underlying studies laying a foundation for such requirements is well underway. Therefore, we request that this safety recommendation be reclassified as closed, acceptable alternate. Thank you, in advance, for your consideration of this matter.

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/6/2008
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 7/13/2010 4:58:49 PM MC# 2100248

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 3/18/2005
Response: The Safety Board notes NHTSA's contention that while the low average annual number of motorcoach occupant fatalities versus other passenger vehicle occupants does not warrant reducing funds for other programs, the issues do deserve attention. NHTSA reported that it has entered into a joint research program with Transport Canada focused on improving glazing retention and structural integrity requirements for motorcoach-type buses. The initial report from that research focused on the forces impacting the windows and structure during rollover. Completion of the overall research project is expected by September 2006. The Safety Board appreciates NHTSA's and Transport Canada's efforts in completing the initial window impact force study. Passengers who use public transportation are at the mercy of factors beyond their control and it is imperative that all possible efforts be made to ensure their safety. As you know, the issue of enhanced protection for bus passengers is on the Board's Most Wanted list. The Board is concerned that passengers on motorcoaches continue to be at an avoidable risk of death or injury due to the roof strength, window retention, and occupant containment issues identified in our investigations. The recent motorcoach accident on October 6, 2004, near Turrell, Arkansas, reinforced the need for improved occupant retention and protection systems. While that accident is still under investigation, there were 14 fatalities and 16 serious injuries, due in part to a lack of window retention, motorcoach roof collapse, and occupant ejection. The Safety Board continues to believe that motorcoach passenger safety is a major concern. The Safety Board asks to be updated on the progress of your research no later than summer of 2005. Pending this review, Safety Recommendations H-99-47 through -51 remain classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/5/2004
Response: About 10 motorcoach occupants are killed per year- in the United States compared to approximately 31,000 other passenger vehicle occupants, and each life lost is a tragedy that we must do our best to prevent. In addressing the motorcoach issue, we also must consider using our limited resources most efficiently. While we will not reduce funding of other programs that have the potential to make larger reductions in the 43,000 deaths and millions injuries that occur each year the motorcoach crashworthiness issues raised by the Board also deserve attention. In our past correspondence, NHTSA stated that there were no industry standards upon which to base Federal motor vehicle safety standards, and that primary research had to be performed to ensure that any proposed regulation would be based on valid scientific data. Previously, we focused much of our attention on obtaining motorcoach manufacturers' cooperation in performing the research needed to develop effective safety standards. However, after our joint public meeting with Transport Canada in April 2002, it was determined that this approach was not likely to yield the safety improvements that are needed. We have subsequently, in 2003, entered into a joint research program with Transport Canada. Our joint program has examined worldwide motorcoach regulations, including those in Europe, and is now conducting the primary research necessary to establish performance requirements and objective compliance test procedures. We are focusing on improved glazing retention and structural integrity requirements or motorcoach type buses. We have chosen this approach rather than safety belts because these countermeasures require action by the users to bring about a safety improvement. Many coach type buses in Europe now have safety belts, but we have no information regarding passenger belt usage in those buses. The 2003 joint research with Transport Canada determined the forces on the windows and structure during rollover using a computer simulation enclosed is a copy of that report. Building upon these results, a program to test motorcoach windows and the surrounding structure has been initiated to determine occupant protection improvements that are feasible with advanced glazing materials and bonding techniques, as well as the structure's role in window retention. We expect to complete the research by September 2006. NHTSA recommends that Safety Recommendations H-99-47 and 48 continue to be classified as "open acceptable response.''

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 6/28/2002
Response: The Safety Board is pleased that NHTSA concurs that a review of whether current regulations afford adequate protection to motorcoach occupants in serious crashes is appropriate. The Board notes that the motorcoach manufacturers have established a Bus Manufacturers Council to specifically address motorcoach safety issues and that NHTSA will work with the council. The Board commends NHTSA for holding, with Transport Canada, a public motorcoach safety forum on April 30, 2002; Safety Board Vice Chairman Carmody and staff participated in this forum. Pending further information on NHTSA's efforts to address these recommendations, Safety Recommendations H-99-47 through -51 remain classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. Thank you for your response to these recommendations and for your continued partnership with the Safety Board to improve highway safety. We also look forward to your response regarding Safety Recommendations H-99-45 and -46 that relate to performance standards for schoolbus occupant protection.

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/6/2002
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 03/25/2002 4:16:59 PM MC# 2020323 - From Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D., Administrator: NHTSA shares the NTSB's views that it is appropriate to examine whether current regulations afford adequate protection to motorcoach occupants in serious crashes. NHTSA has been working with the motorcoach manufacturers to remind them of their responsibility to ensure safety by considering occupant protection in crashes throughout their design and manufacturing processes. In response to this, I am pleased to report that the motorcoach manufacturers have now formed Bus Manufacturers Council to specifically address motorcoach safety issues. NHTSA plans to continue working closely with the Bus Manufacturers Council to facilitate industry wide standards that will enhance the safety of motorcoach passengers. In addition, NHTSA has met with our counterparts in Transport Canada to discuss what our governments can and should do together to offer better protection for motorcoach occupants. NHTSA and Transport Canada are now planning a joint public meeting to address motorcoach safety, to be held this spring in the Washington, D.C., area. We have not yet finalized the exact. Location, date, and time for this meeting.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 9/10/2001
Response: In April 2001, the Safety Board acknowledged that NHTSA had initiated a research plan to address Safety Recommendations H-99-47 through 51. Accordingly, pending an update on NHTSA’s activitiesin this area, the Safety Board has classified Safety Recommendations H-99-47 through 51 as OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. Further, as a result of the New Orleans accident investigation, the Safety Board reiterates these recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 8/28/2001
Response: From the accident report of the motorcoach run-off-the-road accident in New Orleans, LA on May 9, 1999 (adopted 8/28/2001): In the New Orleans accident, many of the passengers were thrown forward from their seating compartments and later found lying on top of other passengers near seat row four. In addition, EMS personnel found nine passengers and the driver lying outside the vehicle. In all, 22 passengers were fatally injured as a result of this accident. The loss of survivable space was apparent for some seating positions; in others, survivable space was present and could have been utilized had the passenger been retained within the seating compartment. Investigators determined, based upon the driver’s injuries and the distance that he was thrown from the bus, that the driver was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. The driver.s seat was the only belted position on the motorcoach and is the only position required by Federal regulations to have a seat belt. From its investigations of past motorcoach accidents, the Safety Board has become concerned that motorcoach passengers are not adequately protected in collisions. Although Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards exist for large school buses relating to passenger seating, crash protection, and body joint strength, no similar standards apply to other types of large buses, including motorcoaches. In other words, no Federal regulation or standard requires that large buses sold or operated in the United States be equipped with active or passive occupant protection (other than for the driver). In September 1999, the Safety Board published a report titled Bus Crashworthiness Issues that addressed these concerns and examined 36 motorcoach accidents investigated by the Board from 1968 through 1997. Based on the investigations and current knowledge of occupant protection systems, the Safety Board concluded that one of the primary causes of preventable injury in motorcoach accidents involving a rollover, ejection, or both is occupant motion out of the seat compartment during a collision when no intrusion occurs into the seating area. In addition, the Board concluded that the overall injury risk to occupants in motorcoach accidents involving rollover and ejection could be reduced significantly by retaining the passenger in the seating compartment throughout the collision. In the bus crashworthiness report, the Safety Board issued five recommendations to improve the structure and safety of motorcoaches. The Safety Board notes that the improvements identified in this report also apply to the New Orleans accident. Accordingly, the Board is reiterating Safety Recommendations H-99-47 through H-99-51 from the bus crashworthiness report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA has responded favorably to these recommendations. With regard to H-99-47 and -48, NHTSA stated in March 2000 that it would consider whether seat belts would be beneficial in motorcoaches. However, NHTSA also noted that since only about five passengers are killed in motorcoach accidents each year, it would be inappropriate to reduce funding for other programs that have the potential to save many more lives to concentrate on motorcoach issues. NHTSA acknowledged that the crashworthiness issues raised by the Safety Board deserve to be analyzed and said that it would examine opportunities to share the cost of research with motorcoach manufacturers. With regard to H-99-49, in August 2001, a NHTSA representative stated that the agency is working on testing procedures for ejection mitigation in light vehicles. The procedures take into account window glazing as well as advanced designs for side curtains/airbags. NHTSA further stated that once it has an ejection mitigation testing procedure that works for light vehicles, the agency plans to use it as a starting point for investigating ejection mitigation in motorcoaches. With regard to H-99-50 and -51, NHTSA responded that it was unaware of recent incidents where roof crush was a predominant factor in the injuries to occupants in motorcoaches.165 It stated that although the increased sizes of side windows may lead to motorcoaches having fewer side support columns to support the weight of the motorcoach during rollovers, the material and manufacturing processes have improved in the 30 years since the Safety Board last reported an accident in which roof strength was a factor in occupant injuries. However, contingent upon the availability of resources, NHTSA stated that it will begin assessing the possibility of requiring motorcoaches to meet the same or similar standards for roof crush as do large school buses. In April 2001, the Safety Board acknowledged that NHTSA had initiated a research plan to address Safety Recommendations H-99-47 through -51. Accordingly, pending an update on NHTSA.s activities in this area, the Safety Board has classified Safety Recommendations H-99-47 through -51 as Open-Acceptable Response.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 4/18/2001
Response: The Safety Board understands that NHTSA has initiated a research plan to address H-99-47 through -51. Accordingly, pending an update on NHTSA's activities in this area, H-99-47 through -51 are classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/27/2000
Response: NHTSA has begun developing a research to support these five recommendations. Motor Carrier Industries (MCI) requested a meeting regarding the crash testing of motorcrash buses. On 6/15/00, representatives from American Bus Association, United Motorcoach Association (UMA), MCI, NTSB, NHTSA, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) met to discuss issues related to motorcoaches. At a 7/6/00, meeting, NHTSA solicited support for a joint research program to address motorcoach bus crashworthiness issues, ejection, etc. One motor coach manufacturer agreed to share some existing data on rollover tests. Other manufacturers requested that NHTSA review existing European requirements to determine feasibility. In a related area, NHTSA's glazing report is due to be finalized around December 2000. NHTSA will share these data with motor coach manufacturers. We do not request any reclassification of these recommendations at this time.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 8/16/2000
Response: On 8/16/00, the Safety Board met with NHTSA regarding the implementation of this recommendation. NHTSA promised to send an updated response within 30 days.

From: NTSB
To: NHTSA
Date: 4/24/2000
Response: The Safety Board understands that NHTSA has expanded its research plan on advanced glazings to include motorcoach passenger side windows. We look forward to receiving the results of NHTSA's evaluation of the glazing systems and test procedures. Pending further response, H-99-49 is classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NHTSA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/3/2000
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 03/08/2000 2:40:19 PM MC# 2000363 - From Rosalyn G. Millman, Acting Administrator: For several years, NHTSA has conducted research on ejection mitigating glazing systems for use in light passenger vehicle side windows. Many of the advanced glazing systems and test procedures identified and developed in this research are probably applicable to motorcoach passenger side windows. Because the crash environment that produces ejected in motorcoaches may be different from that for light passenger vehicles, some specific aspects of the test procedures may need to be modified. The Agency has expanded its research plan on advanced glazings to include motorcoach passenger side windows. The first task in this new research is to identify the crash, environment that produces occupant ejections in motorcoach crashes, and based on that, analytically determine the occupant-to-glazing impact conditions. Other important first steps in this research are to identify the types of glazing systems currently used in motorcoaches, and to determine if some of these have ejection mitigating capabilities. The agency will seek cooperation from outside sources in obtaining the glazing systems required for this research. These systems will be evaluated for their ability to mitigate ejections, while limiting increases to head, neck, and laceration injuries. Practicability and cost issues will also be examined. We expect to begin our evaluation of the glazing systems and test procedures in the fall of 2000.