Mr. Pierre Villeneuve
Drummondville, Quebec J2B 6V4
Dear Mr. Villeneuve,
This is in response to your fax of November 4, 2002, requesting information on the application of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) Nos. 207, Seating systems, and 210, Seat belt assembly anchorages, to commercial buses. In your letter you ask if both FMVSS Nos. 207 and 210 apply to passenger seats on commercial buses. The answer to your question is that FMVSS No. 210 is applicable to passenger seats of all buses regardless of whether they are used for commercial purposes, as long as the vehicles gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 10,000 pounds or less. FMVSS No. 207 does not apply to passenger seats on buses that are designed for occupancy while the vehicle is in motion regardless of weight.
By way of background, 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 authorizes the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue Federal motor vehicle safety standards applicable to new motor vehicles and new items of motor vehicle equipment. 49 U.S.C. 30112(a) prohibits any person from manufacturing, introducing into commerce, selling, or importing any new motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment unless the vehicle or equipment item is in conformity with all applicable safety standards and is certified as being in compliance.
FMVSS No. 207 applies to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses. (See S2.) However, S4.2 of FMVSS No. 207 establishes general performance requirements, stating that:
When tested in accordance with S5, each occupant seat, other than a side-facing seat or a passenger seat on a bus, shall withstand the following forces, in newtons ... (Emphasis added.)
Accordingly, passenger seats on buses are excluded from the general performance requirements for seats under FMVSS No. 207, and only the drivers seat of a bus must meet the general performance seat requirements under this regulation. FMVSS No. 207 also sets out requirements for restraining devices for hinged or folding seats or seat backs. (See S4.3.) But again, passenger seats in buses are excluded from this requirement.
FMVSS No. 210 also applies to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses. (See S2.) FMVSS No. 208, Occupant crash protection, establishes which designated seating positions on buses require seat belt assemblies and FMVSS No. 210 establishes the standards for the belt anchorages those assemblies are required to meet. In determining whether seat belt anchorages need to be installed, S4.1.1 of FMVSS No. 210 references FMVSS No. 208 and states:
Seat belt anchorages for a Type 1 or a Type 2 seat belt assembly shall be installed for each designated seating position for which a Type 1 or a Type 2 seat belt assembly is required by Standard No. 208[.] Seat belt anchorages for a Type 2 seat belt assembly shall be installed for each designated seating position for which a Type 2 seat belt assembly is required by Standard No. 208[.]
S220.127.116.11 of FMVSS No. 208, states in pertinent part that:
[E]ach bus with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less, except a school bus, shall be equipped with an integral Type 2 seat belt assembly at the driver's designated seating position and at the front and every rear forward-facing outboard designated seating position, and with a Type 1 or Type 2 seat belt assembly at all other designated seating positions.
For buses with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds, seat belt assembly requirements only apply to the drivers designated seating position. (See FMVSS No. 208 S18.104.22.168.) Accordingly, for these vehicles the passenger seats need not meet the requirements of either FMVSS No. 207 or FMVSS No. 210.
I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any further questions please contact Mr. Chris Calamita of my staff at (202) 366-0536.