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Amended Pre-Trip Safety Information for Motorcoach Passengers

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Amended Pre-Trip Safety Information for Motorcoach Passengers

T.F. Scott, Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
26 August 2016


[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 166 (Friday, August 26, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 59034-59036]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-20493]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration


Amended Pre-Trip Safety Information for Motorcoach Passengers

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The FMCSA amends its pre-trip safety guidance recommending 
that the motorcoach industry encourage passengers to use lap/shoulder 
seat belts. This amended guidance is provided in response to National 
Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations and the National 
Highway Transportation Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Final Rule 
published on November 25, 2013 [78 FR

[[Page 59035]]

70416] titled, ``Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Crash 
Protection.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Gregory Nahmens, Commercial 
Passenger Carrier Safety Division (MC-ECP), greg.nahmens@dot.gov, 202-
366-5054. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., E.T., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On February 26, 1999, the NTSB issued recommendations H-99-7 and H-
99-8 to the Secretary of Transportation concerning safety briefing 
materials for motorcoach operators, and pre-trip safety information for 
passengers. The recommendations provided as follows:

    H-99-7 Provide guidance on the minimum information to be 
included in safety briefing materials for motorcoach operators.
    H-99-8 Require motorcoach operators to provide passengers with 
pre-trip safety information.

    The recommendations resulted from NTSB's special investigation 
report, ``Selective Motorcoach Issues,'' which included two motorcoach 
crashes from the late 1990s where passengers felt a general sense of 
panic and did not know what to do on a motorcoach during the emergency. 
The NTSB concluded that emergency instructions can be crucial to a safe 
and expedient evacuation in the event of a motorcoach crash or 
emergency.
    In the spring of 2003, FMCSA formed a stakeholder working group to 
develop guidance in response to the NTSB recommendations. The working 
group met on September 16, 2003. Because of the operational variances 
in the industry, making it inappropriate to apply one basic regulatory 
approach universally, FMCSA decided to allow motorcoach companies the 
flexibility to conduct pre-trip safety briefings that are tailored to 
each individual company's overall safety and operational procedures. 
FMCSA concluded, based upon the diverse operational types of motorcoach 
carriers, that it would be best to initially encourage the motorcoach 
industry to take voluntary action to improve pre-trip safety awareness 
for passengers.
    A notice and request for comments was published in the Federal 
Register on August 28, 2006, [71 FR 50971] which proposed the voluntary 
adoption of pre-trip safety briefings by the motorcoach industry, with 
flexible implementation in consideration of the diverse operational 
types and styles.
    On September 13, 2007, the FMCSA published a final notice in the 
Federal Register [72 FR 52424] announcing the Agency's ``Basic Plan for 
Motorcoach Passenger Safety Awareness,'' and ranking the recommended 
safety topics in order of importance with a list of examples of the 
various methods for presenting the safety information.
    To assist the motorcoach industry with implementation of passenger 
safety-awareness programs, FMCSA developed materials including two 
sample pamphlets, a pre-trip informational poster, and an audio pre-
trip safety briefing which was translated into six foreign languages 
and recorded. These informational tools were mailed to all registered 
motorcoach companies, distributed at industry seminars and conferences, 
and placed on FMCSA's Web site to encourage free downloading, adoption, 
and use.
    More recently, NHTSA published a Final Rule on November 25, 2013, 
[78 FR 70416] titled, ``Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; 
Occupant Crash Protection,'' which amended Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standards (FMVSS) numbers 208 and 210 to require lap/shoulder seat 
belts for each passenger seating position in all new over-the-road 
buses, and in new buses other than over-the-road buses with a gross 
vehicle weight rating greater than 26,000 pounds, with certain 
exclusions. Prior to this, seat belts were only required to be 
installed for the driver.
    On August 4, 2015, in response to a multiple-fatality crash in 
Orland, California, the previous year involving a motorcoach and 
subsequent fire, NTSB issued new recommendations to FMCSA concerning 
safety briefing materials for motorcoach operators, and pre-trip safety 
information for passengers. The recommendations are provided below.

    H-15-14 Require all passenger motor carrier operators to (1) 
provide passengers with pre-trip safety information that includes, 
at a minimum, a demonstration of the location of all exits, explains 
how to operate the exits in an emergency, and emphasizes the 
importance of wearing seat belts, if available; and (2) also place 
printed instructions in readily accessible locations for each 
passenger to help reinforce exit operation and seat belt usage.
    H-15-15 Update your Web site guidance to include information on 
the mandated three-point restraints effective November 2016 for all 
new over-the-road buses and for other than over-the-road buses with 
a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 11,793 kilograms (26,000 
pounds).

    With this notice, FMCSA is adding the use of seat belts to the 
previously issued pre-trip safety information for passenger carriers. 
In an effort to assist motorcoach companies with implementing this 
amended safety-awareness program for passengers, FMCSA has developed 
sample safety information, which it makes available to motorcoach 
carriers and passengers through presentations, during industry and 
public safety events and through the FMCSA public Web site at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/passenger-safety/pre-trip-safety-information-bus-passengers. An electronic version of the safety briefing 
information is available in both English and other languages. Content 
is also available on the Agency's Web site which can be downloaded and 
printed for the convenience and use of the industry and public. These 
materials are available at no charge and can be used by motorcoach 
companies whether they choose to distribute safety information to 
passengers during boarding or elect to place safety briefing 
information in the pouches or sleeves of the seatbacks.

Amended Basic Plan for Motorcoach Passenger Safety Awareness

    FMCSA announces the following revisions to the Basic Plan; they are 
listed in order of importance.

Amended Basic Plan for Motorcoach Passenger Safety Awareness

Recommended Safety Topics To Be Covered
    1. Emergency exits--Point out the location of all emergency exits 
(push-out windows, roof vent, and side door) and explain how to operate 
them. Emphasize that, whenever feasible, the motorcoach door should be 
the primary exit choice. Encourage able-bodied passengers to assist any 
injured or mobility-impaired passengers during an emergency evacuation. 
Provide passengers with sufficient guidance to ensure compliance with 
49 CFR 392.62, ``Safe operation, buses.''
    2. Seat Belt Use--If equipped, recommend the use of shoulder/lap 
seat belts whenever passengers occupy any seating position.
    3. Emergency Contact--Advise passengers to call 911 by cellular 
telephone in the event of an emergency.
    4. Driver Direction--Advise passengers to look to the driver for 
direction and follow his/her instructions.
    5. Fire Extinguisher--Point out the location of the fire 
extinguisher.
    6. Restroom Emergency Push Button or Switch--Inform motorcoach 
passengers of the emergency signal device in the restroom.
    7. Avoiding Slips and Falls--Warn passengers to exercise care when

[[Page 59036]]

boarding and exiting the motorcoach and to use the handrail when 
ascending or descending steps. Encourage passengers to remain seated as 
much as possible while the motorcoach is in motion. If it is necessary 
to walk while the motorcoach is moving, passengers should always use 
handrails and supports.
Methods of Presenting the Amended Safety Information
    The following presentation methods are examples of how to present 
safety information to motorcoach passengers. The list below should not 
be construed to restrict combinations of the following methods or 
additional presentation methods.
    1. During passenger boarding--Informational pamphlets or printed 
materials could be distributed to motorcoach passengers during 
boarding.
    2. After passenger boarding and immediately prior to moving the 
motorcoach--
    a. The driver requests the passengers to review informational 
pamphlets/printed materials located in the seat back pocket.
    b. The driver provides an oral presentation (similar to the 
presentations by airline flight attendants prior to take-off) with or 
without informational pamphlets/printed materials as visual aids.
    c. An automated presentation over the motorcoach audio system.
    d. An automated presentation over the motorcoach video system.
Timing and Frequency of the Presentation
    Demand-responsive motorcoach operations, such as charters and tour 
services, should present the safety information to motorcoach 
passengers after boarding and prior to movement of the motorcoach.
    Fixed route motorcoach service operations should present the safety 
information at all major stops or terminals, after any new passengers 
have boarded and prior to movement of the motorcoach.

    Issued on: August 18, 2016.
T.F. Scott, Darling, III,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-20493 Filed 8-25-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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