Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Seat Belt Assembly Anchorages, School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection
In this final rule, we respond to petitions for reconsideration of a final rule published on October 21, 2008, which upgraded NHTSA's school bus passenger crash protection requirements. This document denies most of the requests in the petitions for reconsideration. To the extent we grant petitions, we make slight changes to the regulatory text of the October 2008 final rule to clarify the rule. We make clearer the procedure specifying how we will measure the height of school bus passenger torso belts, and we are clarifying that a requirement that seat belts be integral to the passenger seat (a requirement adopted to reduce the likelihood of passengers getting injured by or tangled in loose belts) also applies to seats that have wheelchair positions or side emergency doors behind them, even if the seats are in the last row of vehicles. We are also slightly revising the procedure for testing the self- latching requirement for school bus seat cushions, to specify the weight that is placed on the seat cushion in Newtons, to specify that the downward force is applied in a one to five second timeframe, and to specify that activation of the self-latching mechanism is assessed using the seat cushion retention test. Those provisions make the language more consistent with that of a pre-existing seat cushion retention test in the standard.