Ms. Valrie Fortin
Regulations and Standards Technician
Girardin Minibus Inc.
3000 rue Girardin
Dear Ms. Fortin:
This responds to your letter concerning a February 6, 2007 final rule amending Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 206, Door Locks and Door Retention Components. Among other matters, that rule removed an exclusion of vehicle doors equipped with wheelchair platform lift systems from FMVSS No. 206 requirements. As explained in the enclosed agency response to petitions for reconsideration of the final rule, Thomas Built Buses petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to reinstate the exclusion, and we have done so. See the enclosed Federal Register document (75 FR 7370, February 19, 2010) for a detailed explanation as to the agencys rationale.
Please note, however, that NHTSA determined that the former exclusion of all doors equipped with a wheelchair lift was too broad, given that some lifts made today do not completely block the doorway. Therefore, in the enclosed document, the agency has amended the February 2007 final rule (the requirements at S4 of FMVSS No. 206) to exclude doors equipped with a permanently attached wheelchair lift system meeting the following criteria: (a) When the lift is in the retracted position, the lift platform retracts to a vertical orientation parallel to and in close proximity with the interior surface of the lift door; (b) in that position, the platform completely covers the doorway opening, has fixed attachments to the vehicle and provides a barricade to the doorway; and (c) the wheelchair lift door is linked to an alarm system consisting of either a flashing visible signal located in the drivers compartment or an alarm audible to the driver that is activated when the door is not fully closed and the vehicle ignition is activated.
These requirements appear to not exclude the wheelchair lift system in one of the pictures you enclosed because that platform only halfway covers the door opening. As to the second picture you enclosed with your letter, we cannot determine from that picture whether that door meets all the requirements for the exclusion set forth above.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Sarah Alves of my staff at (202) 366-2992.
O. Kevin Vincent