[Federal Register: August 28, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 166)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2005-21324]
Pre-Trip Safety Information for Motorcoach Passengers
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice; request for comments.
SUMMARY: FMCSA seeks comments on its proposed plan to implement
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations for
providing pre-trip safety information to motorcoach passengers. The
NTSB recommends that the agency require, and develop minimum guidelines
for, pre-trip safety information to be provided by motorcoach companies
to passengers. FMCSA, in conjunction with stakeholders, has developed a
basic plan for all motorcoach companies to implement a passenger safety
awareness program. FMCSA proposes a flexible plan that would approve
several methods of informing motorcoach passengers using visual and/or
audio presentation, with or without technology assistance. FMCSA seeks
motorcoach industry and stakeholder input in finalizing the plan. The
goal of this initiative is to develop, and encourage adoption of,
passenger safety awareness guidelines suited for diverse motorcoach
DATES: We must receive your comments by November 27, 2006.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by Docket Number FMCSA-
2005-21324, by any of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
- Agency Web Site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow the
instructions for submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
- Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
- Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401,
Washington, DC 20590-0001. Please submit three copies of written
- Hand Delivery: Submit three copies of written comments to
Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh
Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through
Friday, except Federal holidays.
Instructions: Comments must refer to Docket Number FMCSA-2005-
21324. All comments received will be posted without change to http://dms.dot.gov
, including any personal information provided. For detailed
instructions on submitting comments, see the "Public Participation"
heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. For
a summary of DOT's Privacy Act Statement or information on how to
obtain a complete copy of DOT's Privacy Act Statement please see the
"Privacy Act" heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.
Docket: For access to the docket to read the application or
comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time or to Room PL-
401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW.,
Washington, DC between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Peter Chandler, Commercial
Passenger Carrier Safety Division (MC-ECP), 202-366-5763; Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400
Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Office hours are from 8
a.m. to 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
The DMS is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can
get electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the
"Help" section of the DMS Web site. If you want us to notify you of
receiving your comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped
envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement page displaying after
received of on-line comments.
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 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit
On February 26, 1999, NTSB issued five recommendations to the
Secretary of Transportation. This public notice addresses the two 1999
recommendations subsequently delegated to FMCSA:
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.
NTSB made similar recommendations to the American Bus Association
(ABA) and the United Motorcoach Association (UMA). The two 1999
recommendations were in response to a motorcoach crash on I-95 near
Stony Creek, Virginia. On July 29, 1997, a 1985 Transportation
Manufacturing Corporation motorcoach operated by Rite-Way
Transportation, Inc. drifted off the side of I-95 and down an
embankment into the Nottoway River, where it came to rest on its left
side. At the time, a driver and 34 passengers were onboard the
motorcoach. One passenger was fatally injured. The driver and 3
passengers sustained serious injuries; 28 passengers sustained minor
injuries. NTSB believed this fatal accident highlighted the need for
motorcoach passengers to receive pre-trip safety information similar to
the emergency evacuation information given during pre-flight safety
briefings for commercial airline passengers. During several motorcoach
crash investigations by NTSB, passengers described a general sense of
panic because they did not know what to do or how to get out of the
In the spring of 2003, FMCSA held informal meetings with ABA, UMA,
and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) which culminated in a
working group to address the NTSB recommendations. Individuals from the
motorcoach operating industry, motorcoach manufacturers, insurance
industry, safety consulting industry, trade associations, State
agencies, and other Federal regulatory agencies comprised the working
group. the working group met initially via conference call on August
19, 2003, and reached consensus on a response to the NTSB
recommendations on September 16, 2003.
The working group concluded it would be best to initially encourage
the motorcoach industry to take voluntary action to improve pre-trip
safety awareness. Motorcoach industry officials asserted it is
impossible to develop a uniform passenger safety awareness regulation,
flexible enough for industry-wide application, due to wide-ranging
operational variances within the motorcoach industry. The group
believed development and promotion of a list of best practices is a
more effective and realistic alternative to ensure motorcoach
passengers receive safety information. This notice announces FMCSA's
intent to work together with stakeholders on these safety guidelines.
The guidelines would allow motorcoach companies to conduct pre-trip
safety briefings as they deem appropriate.
In an April 1, 2005, letter to FMCSA, the NTSB stated that the
activities described above will provide motorcoach passengers with
increased information about safety, and are responsive to
recommendation H-99-7. In addition, NTSB stated such activities also
provide an acceptable alternate approach to recommendation H-99-8.
Based upon FMCSA's actions taken and plans made, NTSB classified
recommendation H-99-7 as "Open--Acceptable Response" and
recommendation H-99-8 as "Open--Acceptable Alternate Response." After
reaching general consensus among stakeholders about a basic plan for
motorcoach passenger safety awareness and developing a model
informational pamphlet, FMCSA will submit such information and material
to the NTSB for review. At such time, FMCSA and its safety partners
will also begin monitoring crashes and complaints to verify that
motorcoach companies are presenting pre-trip safety information to
II. Proposed Basic Plan for Motorcoach Passenger Safety Awareness
Minimum Safety Topics To Be Covered
1. Driver Direction--Advise passengers to look to the driver for
direction and follow his/her instructions.
2. Avoiding Slips and Falls--Warn passengers to exercise care when
boarding and de-boarding 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.
Keep the aisle free of all property and debris.
3. Emergency Contact--Advise passengers to call 911 via cellular
telephone in the event of an emergency.
4. Emergency exits--Point out the location of all emergency exits
(push-out windows, roof vent, and side door) and explain how to operate
them, including the emergency door release located on the dash or in
the stairwell. 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
5. Restroom Emergency Push Button on Switch--Inform motorcoach
passengers of the emergency signal advice in the restroom.
6. Fire extinguisher--Point out the location of the fire
Alternative Methods of Presenting the Safety Information
1. During passenger boarding:
a. Informational pamphlets distributed to motorcoach passengers
2. After passenger boarding, immediately prior to moving the
a. Suggestion by the driver for passengers to review informational
pamphlets located in the pouches or sleeves on the back of seats.
b. Oral presentation on safety information by the motorcoach driver
(similar to the presentations by airline flight attendants prior to
take-off) with or without informational pamphlets as visual aids.
c. Automated audio presentation broadcasting a cassette tape or
compact disk over the motorcoach audio system.
d. Automated video presentation using a videotape or DVD on the
motorcoach video system.
Timing and Frequency of the Presentation
Demand-responsive motorcoach operations such as charter and tour
service should present the safety information to motorcoach passengers
after boarding, prior to movement of the motorcoach.
At a minimum, fixed route motorcoach service operations should
present the safety information at all major stops or terminals after
boarding, prior to movement of the motorcoach.
III. Request for Comments
FMCSA requests comments on the adequacy and comprehensiveness of
the basic plan as well as recommendations for additional plan details.
Issued on: August 21, 2006.
David H. Hugel,
Deputy Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
[FR Doc. 06-7182 Filed 8-25-06; 8:45 am]
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