Proposed NHTSA Regulations to Protect Passengers in Motorcoaches and Large Buses

The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard to protect motorcoach and other large bus passengers in rollover crashes.  The proposal aims to improve the structural design to ensure that passengers are better protected in rollover crashes by ensuring the space around them remains intact and the emergency exits remain operable. The proposed standard would establish performance requirements that each new motorcoach and large bus must meet when subjected to a dynamic test in which the motorcoach or bus is tipped over from a raised platform onto a hard level surface.  The proposed standard would:
  • Required space around occupant seating positions be maintained to afford occupants survivable space in a crash
  • Requires seats, overhead luggage racks and window glazing to remain attached to their mountings during and after testing; and
  • Require emergency exits to remain closed during the rollover test and operable after test.
Both the proposed test procedure and performance requirements are closely modeled after European regulations for large buses.  In a separate rulemaking action to improve safety even further, NHTSA is planning on finalizing requirements later this year for stability control technologies in these vehicles, which would help prevent rollovers from occurring. “Approximately 700 million trips are taken on commercial buses each year.  Raising the standard for motorcoache’s durability, in the event of a crash, is critical to saving the lives of the passengers inside.” said FMCSA Administrator Ann Ferro.  “In addition to taking critical steps to improve the structural design of buses, we are committed to further increasing motorcoach safety through stricter oversight, in-depth investigations into high risk companies, and by ensuring that drivers are properly licensed and medically fit for the job.” To read more visit the following link: NPRM

CPSC considers banning ATV passengers

CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) said that ATV-related fatalities continue to be one of the largest categories of consumer product-related deaths, despite various activities addressing ATV safety instituted since the 1980s, including rulemakings, recalls, consumer education, litigation and media outreach. CPSC has issued a Request for Information (RFI) and invites interested parties to provide feedback on:
  • The prevalence of passenger use and the reasons why passengers ride on ATVs;
  • Potential means of preventing passengers from being carried on ATVs not intended for that purpose;
  • Potential impacts of these requirements on the utility of ATVs; and
  • Possible changes to ATV design that would prevent passenger use and whether such changes would be translated into a performance standard.
The RFI seeks to gather information that will add to agency data on quantifying passenger locations in fatal incidents. “Staff’s data do not provide information on passenger location during normal, non-incident use. In addition, CPSC data contain little information about aftermarket use of passenger seats or information about the need of ATV drivers to carry passengers,” the agency noted. CPSC seeks data and information on the prevalence of passengers riding ATVs, the purchase and use of aftermarket seats, and the feasibility of a performance standard that would restrict or forbid carrying passengers. CPSC reviews of incident reports and other studies demonstrates that passengers ride in multiple locations on ATVs, including on cargo racks, and in front and behind the operator. Passengers account for about 25 percent of ATV injuries, the agency said. A recent pilot study of ATV-related fatalities found that of 502 reported incidents involving more than one rider on an ATV, more than 80 percent involved two riders, a driver and a passenger. . Around 10 percent of passenger-related fatal incidents involved more than two riders (i.e. a driver and two or more passengers). When two or more passengers were involved, a passenger was more likely to be fatally injured, according to CPSC. Veritech Consulting Engineering specializes in the reconstruction and analysis of motor vehicle accidents, with a specific specialty in ATV and UTV accident reconstruction.  If you are an attorney looking for an expert with a case involving an ATV or UTV please contact Veritech’s ATV expert, Mark Kittel, P.E. to discuss the specifics of your case. 303-660-4395

Bosch Releases CDR Version 14.0

On August 29th, 2014 Bosch CDR (Crash Data Retrieval) announced the release of its latest software version, 14.0.  The new software adds airbag module imaging support for select 2015 Audi vehicles sold in the US and Canada.  Select Audi vehicle “black boxes” can now be accessed via the DLC (Diagnostic Link Connector) or by directly connecting to the vehicle’s Airbag Control Module (ACM).  The select Audi vehicles which are now supported include:
  • Audi A3
  • Audi A4
  • Audi A5
  • Audi A6
  • Audi A7
  • Audi A8
  • Audi Q3
  • Audi Q5
In addition, Bosch has also released a software patch (Version 14.0.1) which adds coverage for the 2014 and 2015 Volkswagen EOS models. The Bosch CDR system supports select airbag modules for vehicle as far back as 1994.  To see if the pre-crash data from your vehicle’s airbag module can be downloaded please see the BOSCH CDR Coverage List. Veritech engineers utilize the Bosch CDR system as an important tool to aid in performing vehicle accident reconstructions.  Airbag modules are capable of recording valuable pre-crash information, such as vehicle speed, brake application and seatbelt usage, but are not capable of telling the entire story.  Accident reconstruction engineers must still consider all of the available physical evidence, along with the ACM data, in to order to properly reconstruct an accident.  Veritech Consulting Engineering employs Professional Engineers who are specifically trained and certified in the use of the Bosch CDR system and have performed numerous accident reconstructions utilizing airbag module information.  Please visit our web page at www.veritecheng.com for additional information on “black box” technology.

The “Black Box” Revealed: History of Flight Data Recorders

How many time have we heard that investigators are searching for the “black box” after an aviation accident? This refers to the flight data recorder (FDR) which all commercial and corporate airplanes in the United States are required to carry. They are also required to be equipped with a cockpit voice recorder. It might seem like the FDR is an extremely modern, space age device, but in fact, the earliest type of flight recorders date back to 1939. Developed in France by François Hussenot and Paul Beaudouin, their “type HB” flight recorder used a photographic record. Another early version was developed in the UK during World War II by Len Harrison and Vic Husband. Their technology used various styli which indicated readings of various instruments / aircraft controls and were recorded on copper foil. Modern FDR technology was invented by Dr. David Warren at the Aeronautical Research Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia. In the mid-1950s he took part in the investigation of a mysterious crash involving the world’s first jet-powered commercial aircraft, the Comet. It occurred to Dr. Warren that if there had been some kind of recording of what was happening on the aircraft just prior to the crash—that would have been a huge help to the investigation. His first demonstration unit was produced in 1957. In 1960, an unexplained plane crash in the northern part of Australia prompted that government to make the Black Box mandatory for all commercial aircraft. They were the first country to do so. The media was quick to adopt the term, “black box.” Although the origins of the term “black box” are uncertain, what is certain is that having them onboard aircraft has revolutionized the accident reconstruction industry. Black Box Facts: • FDRs are not located in the cockpit of an aircraft, but rather in the rear, typically in the tail. Why? It’s unlikely that a plane would go down tail first. The entire front and midsection of the plane acts as a buffer, to reduce the shock reaching the recorder. • Today’s black box is not black at all, but a bright orange for ease in spotting it among the wreckage in case of an accident. • Black boxes emit an underwater locator beacon for up to 30 days, in case of a water crash. They can operate in depths of up to 20,000 feet.

Veritech Expands Accident Reconstruction Capabilities

PRESS RELEASE Engineers at Veritech Consulting Engineering expand the firm’s competencies in the newest accident reconstruction technologies including Crash Data Retrieval analysis and Heavy Vehicle EDR use. Castle Rock, CO – Veritech Consulting Engineering continues to stay on the forefront of technological advances in accident reconstruction techniques through ongoing training and certification programs. Two of the principal engineers at Veritech completed advanced data analysis courses in the fourth quarter to keep the firm on the leading edge of motor vehicle accident reconstruction technology.