Mr. Matthew Daecher
Daecher Consulting Group
3780 Trindle Rd.
Camp Hill, PA 17011
Dear Mr. Daecher:
This responds to your question asking for an interpretation of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 217, Bus emergency exits and window retention and release. You ask whether, in determining emergency exits for a bus other than a school bus (non-school bus) over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), the main entrance/exit door and the driver seat door may be included.
The answer is yes. Requirements for the provision of emergency exits on buses are specified at S5.2 of the standard. S5.2 specifies that non-school buses with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds must meet the requirements of S18.104.22.168, S5.2.2, or S5.2.3. Apparently you have chosen to certify the vehicle to S5.2.2. S22.214.171.124 specifies that non-school buses must provide unobstructed openings for emergency exit which collectively amount, in total square centimeters, to at least 432 times the number of designated seating positions on the bus. Under S126.96.36.199, at least 40 percent of the total required area of unobstructed openings must be provided on each side of a bus. Further, in determining the total unobstructed openings, no emergency exit, regardless of its area, shall be credited with more than 3,458 square centimeters of the total area requirement.
In this answer, we assume that the main entrance/exit door and the driver seat door of your vehicle are on opposite sides of the bus. As long as all provisions of S188.8.131.52 specified above are met, both the main entrance/exit door and the drivers seat door may be used to meet FMVSS No. 217 requirements for emergency exits on non-school buses over 10,000 pounds GVWR.
However, if the main entrance/exit door and the driver seat door of your non-school bus will be counted toward the emergency exit requirement, each door must meet all FMVSS No. 217 requirements for door emergency exits, including those for labeling the exits. The labeling requirements are specified at S5.5.1 and S5.5.2. Basically, S5.5.1 specifies that each emergency exit door in non-school buses with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds must have the designation Emergency Door or Emergency Exit. We
assume there are no adjacent seats for either the main entrance/exit door or the driver seat door used as an emergency exit. S184.108.40.206 specifies that the marking must meet the legibility requirements of S5.5.2 for occupants standing in the aisle location nearest to the emergency exit. S5.5.2 specifies that each marking shall be legible, when the only source of light is the normal nighttime illumination of the bus interior, to occupants having corrected visual acuity of 20/20 (Snellen ratio).
In addition, we note that FMVSS No. 217 further states at S220.127.116.11 that buses with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds must meet the unobstructed openings requirements in S18.104.22.168 by providing side exits and at least one rear exit that conforms to S5.3 though S5.5. Under S22.214.171.124, the rear exit must meet the requirements of S5.3 though S5.5 when the bus is upright and when the bus is overturned on either side, with the occupant standing facing the exit. Further, S126.96.36.199 specifies that when the bus configuration precludes installation of an accessible rear exit, a roof exit that meets the requirements of S5.3 through S5.5 when the bus is overturned on either side, with the occupant standing facing the exit, must be provided in the rear half of the bus.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please contact Dorothy Nakama of my staff at this address or at (202) 366-2992.
Anthony M. Cooke