[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 62 (Friday, March 30, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 19132-19138]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-7626]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0037]
RIN 2127-AK20


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Bus Emergency Exits and 
Window Retention and Release

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: In this final rule, which was preceded by a notice of proposed 
rulemaking, NHTSA is making several housekeeping amendments to the 
Federal motor vehicle safety standard for bus emergency exits. First, 
based on a proposal made in response to a petition for rulemaking from 
the School Bus Manufacturers Technical Council (SBMTC), NHTSA amends 
the standard to specify that the exterior release (the exterior handle) 
for school bus rear emergency exit doors may be located opposite the 
door hinges, rather than located in the middle of the door. Second, 
this final rule also clarifies the standard as to the number of force 
applications that are required to open a window or roof emergency exit. 
Third, in response to a comment on the proposed rule, this document 
makes a technical correction by removing a reference to a no-longer 
existent figure. These amendments correct or clarify the requirements 
of the standard. We believe most, if not all, school buses are 
currently designed to meet the corrected or clarified requirements.

DATES: The effective date is April 1, 2013. Manufacturers are provided 
optional early compliance with this final rule beginning March 30, 
2012.
    Petitions for reconsideration: Petitions for reconsideration of 
this final rule must be received no later than May 14, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration of this final rule must refer 
to the docket number set forth above and be submitted to: 
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

[[Page 19133]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues, Mr. Conor 
McCafferty, Office of Crashworthiness Standards (telephone: 202-366-
1046) (fax: 202-493-2990), NVS-113. For legal issues, Ms. Deirdre 
Fujita, Office of the Chief Counsel (telephone: 202-366-2992) (fax: 
202-366-3820), NCC-112. These officials can be reached at the National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Location of Exterior Release Mechanism (Exterior Handle)
III. Figure 3D
IV. Window or Roof Emergency Exit Release
V. Removing Reference to Figure 6B
VI. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

I. Background

    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 217, ``Bus 
emergency exits and window retention and release,'' \1\ applies to 
buses, including school buses, except buses manufactured for the 
purpose of transporting persons under physical restraint. The purpose 
of the standard is to minimize the likelihood of occupants being thrown 
from the bus and to provide a means of readily accessible emergency 
egress. The standard establishes requirements for the retention of 
windows other than windshields in buses, and establishes operating 
forces, opening dimensions, and markings for bus emergency exits.
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    \1\ 49 CFR 571.217.
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    In this final rule, we make several housekeeping amendments to 
FMVSS No. 217. First, NHTSA amends the standard to specify that the 
exterior release (the exterior handle) for school bus rear emergency 
exit doors may be located at the side opposite the door hinges, rather 
than located in the middle of the door. Second, this final rule also 
clarifies the standard as to the number of force applications that are 
required to open a window or roof emergency exit. Third, this document 
removes a reference to a no-longer existent figure.
    The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) upon which this final rule 
is based was published on December 28, 2009 (74 FR 68558) (Docket No. 
NHTSA-2009-0190).
    We received seven comments on the NPRM from school bus 
manufacturers and private individuals.\2\ None of the commenters 
opposed the proposal, several made suggested changes to specific 
provisions, and some commented on matters beyond the scope of the 
rulemaking.
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    \2\ NHTSA received comments from Blue Bird Body Company (Blue 
Bird), Thomas Built Buses (Thomas Built), the National Truck 
Equipment Association (NTEA), SBMTC, and W. Coffey, N. Horner, and 
J. Walsh. This final rule does not discuss issues raised by 
commenters that were beyond the scope of the rulemaking, such as 
suggested ideas to possibly improve emergency egress or ideas to 
improve overall school bus occupant protection. Comments can be read 
at Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0190.
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II. Location of Exterior Release Mechanism (Exterior Handle)

    FMVSS No. 217 (S5.3.3.1(a)) specifies requirements for the location 
of the interior and exterior releases (handles) for side and rear 
emergency door exits for school buses with a gross vehicle weight 
rating (GVWR) greater than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) (``large 
school buses'').
    The standard currently specifies at S5.3.3.1(a) and Figure 3D of 
the standard that both the interior and exterior releases (handles) for 
rear emergency exit doors be located in the center of the door.\3\ 
However, school bus manufacturers have always understood the standard 
as requiring only interior releases (interior handles) to be in the 
center of the door. They believed that the exterior handle may be near 
the edge of the door on the side opposite the hinges. They further 
believed that an exterior release (exterior handle) so located provides 
more leverage and may be designed to require less force to open the 
rear emergency exit door as compared to an exterior handle located in 
the center of the door.\4\
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    \3\ S5.3.3.1(a) specifies that the manual interior and outside 
releases (handles) are located: ``Within the high force access 
region shown in Figure 3A for a side emergency exit door, and in 
figure 3D for a rear emergency exit door.'' Figure 3D consists of 
two drawings. The left-side drawing shows the side-view of the high 
force access region. As shown in the left-side drawing, the release 
(handle) may be located at any point from the left side of the door 
to the right. However, the right-side drawing, giving a different 
perspective of the rear exit (front view), shows that the high force 
access region is a narrow area in the center of the door. Since 
S5.3.3.1(a) requires the interior and exterior releases (handles) to 
be ``[w]ithin the high force access region shown in * * * figure 3D 
for a rear emergency exit door,'' the releases must be in that 
narrow area in the center of the door shown in the right-side 
drawing of Figure 3D.
    \4\ All things being equal, the longer the distance between the 
handle and the door hinges, the less force is required to open the 
door. Thus, for optimum leverage, the handle should be operated from 
the side of the door as far away as possible from the door hinges.
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    SBMTC petitioned the agency to amend FMVSS No. 217 to specify that 
the exterior release (exterior handle) for school bus rear emergency 
exit doors may be located near the edge of the door on the side 
opposite the hinges. Regarding interior releases (interior handles), 
the petitioner believed that the interior handles should be in the 
center of the door so that it is visible to bus occupants and not 
obscured by seat backs if the door is wider than the bus's center 
aisle.
    In the NPRM, we tentatively agreed that the school bus 
manufacturers' current practice of placing the exterior rear emergency 
exit door release (exterior handle) near the edge of the door on the 
side opposite the hinges better meets the need for safety than placing 
the exterior release in the center of the door. Releases (exterior 
handles) placed opposite the hinges would require less force to pull 
open the door for persons outside the school bus than comparable 
releases located in the center.
    Accordingly, we proposed to amend FMVSS No. 217 to specify that the 
exterior release (exterior handle) for the exit must only be in the 
high force access region shown in the left-side drawing (side view) of 
current Figure 3D; that is, only the vertical dimensions of the high 
force region are specified for the location of the exterior handle. We 
sought comment on whether we should require the exterior release to be 
no further than 51 millimeters (mm) (two inches) away from the edge of 
the door opposite the hinges.
    We also clarified the requirement that the interior release 
(interior handle) for a rear emergency exit must be in the high force 
access region shown in both drawings of current Figure 3D, i.e., in the 
center of the door.
    In addition, to make Figure 3D easier to understand, we proposed to 
rename the left-side drawing ``Figure 3D(1)'' and the right-side 
drawing ``Figure 3D(2).''

Comments

    All commenters responding to this issue agreed with NHTSA that 
FMVSS No. 217 should be amended so that it specifies that the exterior 
release (exterior handle) for school bus rear emergency exit doors be 
located near the edge of the door on the side opposite the hinges.
    However, no commenter supported the idea to limit placement of the 
exterior release to no further than 51 mm (two inches) from the edge of 
the door opposite the hinges. SBMTC stated that the NPRM did not give 
an explanation on the reasoning behind this proposal. SBMTC stated that 
the shaft of the exterior emergency door release handle on the majority 
of school buses is located approximately 76 to 127 mm (3 to 5 inches) 
from the edge of the door. SBMTC also noted that due to current school 
bus emergency door construction and because emergency

[[Page 19134]]

exits are already required to meet release forces as specified in FMVSS 
No. 217, it does not see any benefit or need to limit the maximum 
distance from the edge of the door to 51 mm (two inches).
    Thomas Built believed that the 51 mm (two inch) limitation was 
arbitrary. Thomas Built requested that the edge dimension be determined 
by each individual manufacturer's design parameters because it would 
give the manufacturers some tolerance and flexibility in their 
respective designs.
    NTEA believed that most manufacturers' exterior release handles on 
emergency doors are farther away than 51 mm (two inches) from the edge 
of the door. NTEA is unaware of any safety need to require design 
changes such that exterior release handles are no further than 51 mm (2 
inches) from the edge of the door.

Response

    We are adopting the proposed amendment, except for the requirement 
that the exterior release handle must be no further than 51 mm (two 
inches) away from the edge of the door. The purpose of the limitation 
would have been to ensure the emergency exit door opened within the 
force requirements set forth in the standard. After reviewing the 
comments, we agree with SBMTC that the force requirements specified in 
the standard for opening emergency exits are sufficient to meet this 
goal. It is the opening force, not the closeness to the edge of the 
door, that is important for opening the door from the outside.
    We also agree with Thomas Built that the location of the exterior 
release handle should be determined by the individual manufacturer's 
design parameters because the door design may vary based on each 
manufacturer's model. Thus, specifying an exact location would be 
overly design restrictive when the standard already prescribes the 
maximum force to open the exit.
    We received no comment on the issue of the effective date for the 
changes to the exterior release handle for the school bus rear 
emergency exit door.

III. Figure 3D

    In its comment, Blue Bird stated that Figure 3D already has the 
required two drawings and only needs to change the width of the 
``ACCESS REGION FOR HIGH FORCES'' in the right-hand drawing to span the 
entire door. Blue Bird stated that the proposal to split Figure 3D into 
Figures 3D(1) and 3D(2) did not seem necessary and may recreate the 
problem of using a single two-dimensional drawing to communicate three-
dimensional information.

Response

    We do not agree with Blue Bird's suggestion that the high access 
region depicted in Figure 3D(2) (right side drawing) extends across the 
entire width of the door. The access region depicted in Figure 3D(2) 
(front view of the access regions for the rear emergency exit without 
rear obstruction) provides the location requirement for the interior 
release mechanism (interior handle) and ensures that it is in a 
location accessible from inside of the school bus. As we explained in 
the NPRM, the interior release handle for the emergency exit was 
intentionally required to be located in the center of the door so that 
it is visible to bus occupants and the view of the handle is not 
obstructed by seat backs. Further, as noted by SBMTC, the exit would be 
opened from inside by a pushing motion rather than a pulling motion, so 
locating the handle in the center of the door does not markedly 
increase the difficulty of opening the door.
    Further, we do not agree with Blue Bird's suggestion not to split 
Figure 3D into Figures 3D(1) and 3D(2). Splitting Figure 3D into two 
parts allows referencing the two figures individually, to provide 
separate location requirements for the interior and exterior release 
mechanisms. As explained earlier, we intentionally described the 
interior handle as being in the center of the door, as indicated by 
Figures 3D(1) (side view) and 3D(2) (front view). However, for exterior 
release handles, which are not at risk of being obscured, we are only 
specifying the vertical dimensions of the high force region and are 
providing flexibility to the manufacturer to place the exterior release 
handle anywhere along the width of the door, as indicated by Figure 
3D(1) alone (with vertical dimensions shown in the front view--3D(2)).

IV. Window or Roof Emergency Exit Release

    FMVSS No. 217 (S5.3.3.2) specifies the number, location, type, and 
magnitude of force applications to open emergency exit windows in all 
school buses, and S5.3.3.3 does the same for school bus emergency roof 
exits. At S5.3.2, the standard specifies the number, location, type and 
magnitude of force applications to open emergency exits in buses other 
than school buses.
    These paragraphs of the standard specify, among other things: ``In 
the case of [an exit] with one release mechanism, the mechanism shall 
require two force applications to release the exit. In the case of [an 
exit] with two release mechanisms, each mechanism shall require one 
[force] application to release the exit.'' The language first appeared 
in a November 2, 1992 final rule (57 FR 49423).
    In a June 13, 1994 interpretation letter to Blue Bird, NHTSA stated 
that the sentence in S5.3.3.2, ``In the case of windows with one 
release mechanism, the mechanism shall require two force applications 
to release the exit,'' was incorrect. The agency stated that the 
sentence was meant to read: ``In the case of windows with one release 
mechanism, the exit shall require two force applications to open.'' 
(Emphasis added.) That is to say, the agency intended a window or roof 
exit with one release mechanism to be able to be opened with only two 
force applications: One force application that undoes the release 
mechanism, and a second force application that opens the exit. The 
concern is that, because of the current wording of S5.3.3.2, the 
paragraph could be read as specifying that two force applications are 
used to activate the single mechanism and that a third force 
application is applied to open the exit.
    The NPRM proposed to change the wording so that it states more 
clearly what the agency had intended. NHTSA proposed to make S5.3.2, 
S5.3.3.2, and S5.3.3.3 clearer by separating the requirements for 
operating an exit's release mechanism(s) from the requirements for 
opening the exit. NHTSA proposed to specify, for exits with one release 
mechanism, the exit must require two force applications to open: One to 
release the mechanism and another to open the exit. For exits with two 
release mechanisms, there must be a total of three force applications 
to open the exit: One force application must be applied to each of the 
two mechanisms to release the mechanism, and another force must be 
applied to open the exit.
    We viewed this rulemaking as primarily a housekeeping measure and 
stated our belief in the NPRM that all emergency window and roof exits 
are currently designed to meet the requirements as the agency had 
intended to be understood.

Comments

    We received no comments on this issue. Thus, no manufacturer 
disagreed with our statement that all emergency window and roof exits 
are currently designed to meet the existing requirements regarding the 
number of

[[Page 19135]]

force applications. Blue Bird stated generally that it was ``supportive 
of this NPRM's housekeeping measures,'' which we assume refers to this 
as well as the other proposed amendments.

Response

    For the reasons in the NPRM, we are adopting the changes proposed 
in the December 2009 NPRM.

V. Removing Reference to Figure 6B

    In its comment, Blue Bird pointed out another housekeeping measure. 
In an August 12, 2005 final rule (70 FR 47131), we amended FMVSS No. 
217 by, among other things, removing Figure 6B from the standard. 
Inadvertently, we did not remove a reference to Figure 6B in the 
regulatory text of S5.4.3.1(a). Today's final rule corrects S5.4.3.1(a) 
by removing the reference to Figure 6B.

VI. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    This rulemaking document was not reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget under E.O. 12866. It is not considered to be 
significant under E.O. 12866 or the Department's Regulatory Policies 
and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979). This final rule is of 
a housekeeping nature. We believe that all vehicles currently meet the 
changes discussed in this final rule and that there will be no costs 
associated with this rule.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., 
as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice 
for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make available for 
public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the 
effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small businesses, small 
organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions), except as 
provided below. The Small Business Administration's regulations at 13 
CFR part 121 define a small business, in part, as a business entity 
``which operates primarily within the United States.'' (13 CFR 
121.105(a)). No regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule is required 
if the head of an agency certifies that the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal 
agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying 
that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.
    NHTSA has considered the effects of this rulemaking action under 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act. I hereby certify that this final rule 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. The basis for the certification is that this final rule 
is of a housekeeping nature. It does not change any FMVSS No. 217 
requirements that school bus manufacturers are now meeting.

National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this rulemaking action for the purposes of the 
National Environmental Policy Act. The agency has determined that 
implementation of this action does not have any significant impact on 
the quality of the human environment.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    NHTSA has examined today's final rule pursuant to Executive Order 
13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and concluded that no additional 
consultation with States, local governments or their representatives is 
mandated beyond the rulemaking process. The agency has concluded that 
this housekeeping rulemaking does not have sufficient federalism 
implications to warrant consultation with State and local officials or 
the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The final 
rule does not have ``substantial direct effects on the States, on the 
relationship between the national government and the States, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of 
government.''
    NHTSA rules can preempt in two ways. First, the National Traffic 
and Motor Vehicle Safety Act contains an express preemption provision: 
When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, a 
State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe or continue 
in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a 
motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is 
identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter. 49 U.S.C. 
30103(b)(1). It is this statutory command by Congress that preempts any 
non-identical State legislative and administrative law addressing the 
same aspect of performance.
    The express preemption provision described above is subject to a 
savings clause under which ``[c]ompliance with a motor vehicle safety 
standard prescribed under this chapter does not exempt a person from 
liability at common law.'' 49 U.S.C. 30103(e) Pursuant to this 
provision, State common law tort causes of action against motor vehicle 
manufacturers that might otherwise be preempted by the express 
preemption provision are generally preserved. However, the Supreme 
Court has recognized the possibility, in some instances, of implied 
preemption of such State common law tort causes of action by virtue of 
NHTSA's rules, even if not expressly preempted. This second way that 
NHTSA rules can preempt is dependent upon there being an actual 
conflict between an FMVSS and the higher standard that would 
effectively be imposed on motor vehicle manufacturers if someone 
obtained a State common law tort judgment against the manufacturer, 
notwithstanding the manufacturer's compliance with the NHTSA standard. 
Because most NHTSA standards established by an FMVSS are minimum 
standards, a State common law tort cause of action that seeks to impose 
a higher standard on motor vehicle manufacturers will generally not be 
preempted. However, if and when such a conflict does exist--for 
example, when the standard at issue is both a minimum and a maximum 
standard--the State common law tort cause of action is impliedly 
preempted. See Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861 (2000).
    Pursuant to Executive Order 13132 and 12988, NHTSA has considered 
whether this rule could or should preempt State common law causes of 
action. The agency's ability to announce its conclusion regarding the 
preemptive effect of one of its rules reduces the likelihood that 
preemption will be an issue in any subsequent tort litigation.
    To this end, the agency has examined the nature (e.g., the language 
and structure of the regulatory text) and objectives of today's rule 
and finds that this rule prescribes only housekeeping amendments. 
Accordingly, NHTSA does not intend that this rule preempt state tort 
law.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    With respect to the review of the promulgation of a new regulation, 
section 3(b) of Executive Order 12988, ``Civil Justice Reform'' (61 FR 
4729, February 7, 1996) requires that Executive agencies make every 
reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation: (1) Clearly specifies 
the preemptive effect; (2) clearly specifies the effect on existing 
Federal law or regulation; (3) provides a clear legal standard for 
affected conduct, while promoting simplification and burden reduction; 
(4) clearly specifies the

[[Page 19136]]

retroactive effect, if any; (5) adequately defines key terms; and (6) 
addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general 
draftsmanship under any guidelines issued by the Attorney General. This 
document is consistent with that requirement.
    Pursuant to this Order, NHTSA notes as follows. The preemptive 
effect of this rule is discussed above. NHTSA notes further that there 
is no requirement that individuals submit a petition for 
reconsideration or pursue other administrative proceeding before they 
may file suit in court.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, a person is not required 
to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency unless 
the collection displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
control number. There are no collections of information associated with 
today's final rule. Thus, the Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply.

National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act of 1995 (NTTAA), Public Law 104-113, section 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272) 
directs NHTSA to use voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory 
activities unless doing so would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling 
procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by 
voluntary consensus standards bodies, such as the Society of Automotive 
Engineers (SAE). The NTTAA directs the agency to provide Congress, 
through the OMB, explanations when we decide not to use available and 
applicable voluntary consensus standards.
    After carefully reviewing the available information, NHTSA has 
determined that there are no voluntary consensus standards relevant to 
this rulemaking, as this final rule clarifies existing FMVSS No. 217 
requirements.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) 
requires Federal agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, 
benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a 
Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local or 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more 
than $100 million in any one year (adjusted for inflation with base 
year of 1995). This final rule will not result in the expenditure by 
State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the 
private sector of more than $100 million annually.

Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 18, 2001) applies to any 
rulemaking that: (1) Is determined to be economically significant as 
defined under E.O. 12866, and is likely to have a significantly adverse 
effect on the supply of, distribution of, or use of energy; or (2) that 
is designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy action. This rulemaking is 
not subject to E.O. 13211.

Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier 
number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of 
Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center 
publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may 
use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document 
to find this action in the Unified Agenda.

Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477 at 19478).

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Labeling, Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA amends 49 CFR part 571 as 
follows:

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

0
1. The authority for part 571 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117 and 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50.


0
2. Section 571.217 is amended by:
0
a. Revising S5.3.2;
0
b. Adding S5.3.2.1(a) and S5.3.2.1(b);
0
c. Revising S5.3.3.1(a);
0
d. Revising S5.3.3.2;
0
e. Adding S5.3.3.2.1(a) and S5.3.3.2.1(b);
0
f. Revising S5.3.3.3;
0
g. Adding S5.3.3.3.1(a) and S5.3.3.3.1(b);
0
h. Revising S5.4.3.1(a); and,
0
i. Revising Figure 3D.
    The revised and added text and figure read as follows:


Sec.  571.217  Bus emergency exits and window retention and release.

* * * * *
    S5.3.2 (a) When tested under the conditions of S6, both before and 
after the window retention test required by S5.1, each emergency exit 
not required by S5.2.3 shall allow manual release of the exit by a 
single person, from inside the passenger compartment, using force 
applications each of which conforms, at the option of the manufacturer, 
either to S5.3.2.1(a) or S5.3.2.1(b).
    (b) Each exit described in S5.3.2(a) shall have no more than two 
release mechanisms. For exits with one release mechanism, the exit 
shall require two force applications to open the exit: One force 
application shall be applied to the mechanism and another force 
application shall be applied to open the exit. The force application 
for the release mechanism must differ by not less than 90 degrees and 
not more than 180 degrees from the direction of the initial motion to 
open the exit. For exits with two release mechanisms, there shall be a 
total of three force applications to open the exit: One force 
application shall be applied to each of the two mechanisms to release 
each mechanism, and another force shall be applied to open the exit. 
The force application for at least one of the release mechanisms must 
differ by not less than 90 degrees and not more than 180 degrees from 
the direction of the initial motion to open the exit. The force 
applications for the mechanism(s) must conform to either S5.3.2.1(a) or 
S5.3.2.1(b), as appropriate.
    S5.3.2.1(a) Low-force application.
    (1) Location: As shown in Figure 1 or Figure 3.
    (2) Type of motion: Rotary or straight.
    (3) Magnitude: Not more than 90 N.
    (b) High-force application.
    (1) Location: As shown in Figure 2 or Figure 3.
    (2) Type of motion: Straight and perpendicular to the undisturbed 
exit surface.
    (3) Magnitude: Not more than 270 N.
    S5.3.3 * * *
    S5.3.3.1 * * *
    (a) Location: Within the high force access region shown in Figure 
3A for a side emergency exit door, within the high force access region 
shown in both

[[Page 19137]]

Figure 3D(1) and Figure 3D(2) for an interior release mechanism for a 
rear emergency exit door, and within the high force access region shown 
in Figure 3D(1) for an exterior release mechanism for a rear emergency 
exit door.
* * * * *
    S5.3.3.2 When tested under the conditions of S6., both before and 
after the window retention test required by S5.1, each school bus 
emergency exit window shall allow manual opening of the exit by a 
single person, from inside the passenger compartment. Each exit shall 
have no more than two release mechanisms. The mechanism(s) must be 
located in either the specified low-force or high-force regions (at the 
option of the manufacturer), with force applications and types of 
motions that conform to either S5.3.3.2.1(a) or (b) of this section, as 
appropriate. For exits with one release mechanism, the exit shall 
require two force applications to open the exit: One force application 
shall be applied to the mechanism and another force application shall 
be applied to open the exit. The force application for the release 
mechanism must differ by not less than 90 degrees and not more than 180 
degrees from the direction of the initial motion to open the exit. For 
exits with two release mechanisms, there shall be a total of three 
force applications to open the exit: One force application shall be 
applied to each of the two mechanisms to release each mechanism, and 
another force shall be applied to open the exit. The force application 
for at least one of the release mechanisms must differ by not less than 
90 degrees and not more than 180 degrees from the direction of the 
initial motion to open the exit. Each release mechanism shall operate 
without the use of remote controls or tools, and notwithstanding any 
failure of the vehicle's power system. When a release mechanism is 
unlatched and the vehicle's ignition is in the ``on'' position, a 
continuous warning shall be audible at the driver's seating position 
and in the vicinity of that emergency exit.
    S5.3.3.2.1(a) Emergency exit windows--Low-force application.
    (1) Location: Within the low-force access regions shown in Figures 
1 and 3 for an emergency exit window.
    (2) Type of motion: Rotary or straight.
    (3) Magnitude: Not more than 90 N.
    (b) Emergency exit windows--High-force application.
    (1) Location: Within the high-force access regions shown in Figures 
2 and 3 for an emergency exit window.
    (2) Type of motion: Straight and perpendicular to the undisturbed 
exit surface.
    (3) Magnitude: Not more than 180 N.
    S5.3.3.3 When tested under the conditions of S6., both before and 
after the window retention test required by S5.1, each school bus 
emergency roof exit must allow manual opening of the exit by a single 
person, from inside the passenger compartment. Each exit shall have no 
more than two release mechanisms. The mechanism(s) must be located in 
either the specified low-force or high-force regions (at the option of 
the manufacturer), with force applications and types of motions that 
conform to either S5.3.3.3.1(a) or (b) of this section, as appropriate. 
For exits with one release mechanism, the exit shall require two force 
applications to open the exit: One force application shall be applied 
to the mechanism and another force application shall be applied to open 
the exit. The force application for the release mechanism must differ 
by not less than 90 degrees and not more than 180 degrees from the 
direction of the initial motion to open the exit. For exits with two 
release mechanisms, there shall be a total of three force applications 
to open the exit: One force application shall be applied to each of the 
two mechanisms to release each mechanism, and another force shall be 
applied to open the exit. The force application for at least one of the 
release mechanisms must differ by not less than 90 degrees and not more 
than 180 degrees from the direction of the initial motion to open the 
exit.
    S5.3.3.3.1(a) Emergency roof exits--Low-force application.
    (1) Location: Within the low force access regions shown in Figure 
3B, in the case of buses whose roof exits are not offset from the plane 
specified in S5.2.3.2(b)(5). In the case of buses which have roof exits 
offset from the plane specified in S5.2.3.2(b)(5), the amount of offset 
shall be used to recalculate the dimensions in Figure 3B for the offset 
exits.
    (2) Type of motion: Rotary or straight.
    (3) Magnitude: Not more than 90 N.
    (b) Emergency roof exits--High-force application.
    (1) Location: Within the high force access regions shown in Figure 
3B, in the case of buses whose roof exits are not offset from the plane 
specified in S5.2.3.2(b)(5). In the case of buses which have roof exits 
offset from the plane specified in S5.2.3.2(b)(5), the amount of offset 
shall be used to recalculate the dimensions in Figure 3B for the offset 
exits.
    (2) Type of motion: Straight and perpendicular to the undisturbed 
exit surface.
    (3) Magnitude: Not more than 180 N.
* * * * *
    S5.4.3.1 * * *
    (a) In the case of side emergency exit doors, any portion of the 
wheelchair securement anchorage is within the space bounded by the 
interior side wall and emergency exit door opening, transverse vertical 
planes 305 mm (12 inches) forward and rearward of the center of any 
side emergency exit door restricted area, and a longitudinal vertical 
plane through the longitudinal centerline of the school bus, as shown 
in Figure 6A.
* * * * *

[[Page 19138]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR30MR12.000

* * * * *

    Issued on: March 23, 2012.
David L. Strickland,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-7626 Filed 3-29-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P