The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently proposed a new standard that would improve the safety of commercial bus passengers in the event of a rollover crash. Although rates of death in rollover accidents have dropped significantly in passenger vehicles, they remain high in bus rollovers, prompting experienced Waco bus accident lawyers and other concerned groups to take bus rollover risks seriously.
The new standard would require improved structural safety in buses, including better design of emergency exits. The goals of the new standard are to reduce the risk that a bus roof will collapse during a rollover, crushing passengers, and to help ensure that emergency exits can still be used even if the bus has rolled over.
The new standard also comes with new testing requirements. If the new standard is adopted, performance tests for new buses will include a “dynamic” test in which the bus is tipped off a raised platform onto a hard surface, simulating a rollover crash. Engineers who perform the test will then grade each bus on whether sufficient space is left in the passenger compartment, whether overhead roof racks and equipment stayed attached to the roof during the rollover, and if emergency exits could still be used after the test.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that 700 million trips are taken on commercial buses each year. In addition to supporting the proposed NHTSA standard, FMCSA has recently increased its efforts to stop unsafe bus drivers and to investigating high-risk bus companies, thereby preventing these entities from operating until certain safety issues are properly addressed.