Mr. Michael J. Martin
    School Bus Information Council
    1840 Western Avenue
    Albany, NY 12203


    Dear Mr. Martin:

    This responds to your correspondence seeking clarification of whether school buses with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 10,000 pounds will be included in any final rule resulting from an August 6, 2003, notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) (68 Federal Register 46546) issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In that NPRM, NHTSA proposed requiring lap/shoulder belts for all forward-facing designated seating positions other than the front center seat for most vehicles with a GVWR below 10,000 pounds. School buses are not among the vehicles contemplated in the NPRM and will not be included in any final rule issued as a result of that notice.

    Footnote 5 of the NPRM stated the following: "The rule, if adopted, would include school buses under 4,536 kg (10,000 lb.). However, the agency is currently working on a separate rulemaking regarding seat belts in school buses. Accordingly, this document will not further discuss potential requirements for lap/shoulder belts on school buses with a GVWR under 10,000 lb."68 FR at 46549. The footnote indicated that, while not discussed in the preamble, these buses would be addressed by a final rule based on the NPRM. This is not the case.

    Unfortunately, the footnote contains a typographical error. The word "not" was mistakenly left out of the first sentence of the footnote. The sentence should have read, "The rule, if adopted, would not include school buses under 4,536 kg (10,000 lb)."Should NHTSA decide it may be appropriate to require safety belts in school buses, it will publish a separate NPRM discussing the benefits and disbenefits associated with such a requirement.

    I hope this addresses your concerns. Should you have any additional questions, feel free to contact Rebecca MacPherson, of my staff, at (202) 366-2992 or the address given above.

    Sincerely,

    Jacqueline Glassman
    Chief Counsel

    cc: Charles L. Gauthier

    School Bus Information Council
    1840 Western Avenue
    Albany, NY 12203

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