The Braun Corporation
Post Office Box 310
Winamac, IN 46996
Dear Mr. Sullivan:
This responds to your letter addressed to Mary Versailles of this office in which you asked whether, under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 217, Bus emergency exits and window retention and release, the driver's side front door area on non- school buses with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) less than 10,000 pounds could be credited toward the unobstructed openings requirement of section S5.2.
The opening paragraph of section S5.2, Provision of emergency exits, requires buses other than school buses to provide unobstructed openings for emergency exits which collectively amount, in square inches, to 67 times the number of designated seating positions on the vehicle. The same paragraph also requires that at least 40 percent of the total unobstructed opening area must be provided on each side of the bus. No single emergency exit, however, can be credited with more than 536 square inches of the total area requirement.
With regard to non-school buses with a GVWR less than 10,000 pounds, section S5.2.2(c) provides that such buses may meet the emergency exit requirements by means of doors. Accordingly, nothing in the standard prohibits crediting the driver's side door as an emergency exit so long as it meets all emergency exit requirements of the standard, including the release mechanism and 40 percent requirements, up to a maximum credit of 536 square inches.
I hope this information is helpful to you. Should you have any further questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact Walter Myers of my staff at this address or at (202) 366-2992.
Philip R. Recht Chief Counsel ref:217 d:1/9/95