October 22, 2002
Interim Final Rule Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) No. 213; "Safety Vests"
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued an Interim Final Rule on FMVSS No. 213 concerning the safety vests and harnesses as used in school buses. The Interim Final Rule was "posted" after the Federal Register on Friday, October 18, and is effective October 22, 2002 and expires October 1, 2004.
SUMMARY: This document amends the child restraint standard to facilitate the safe transportation of preschool and special needs children through the manufacture and use of vests that hold the children in place during a crash. Vests and other types of child restraints are currently prohibited by the standard from having any means designed for attaching the system to a vehicle seat back. Effective immediately, all vests that are manufactured for use on school bus seats are excluded from the prohibition. Effective February 1, 2003, the exclusion is limited to the vests that bear a warning label informing users that the vest must be sued only on school bus seats, and that the entire seat directly behind the child wearing the seat-mounted vest must be either unoccupied or occupied by restrained passengers. The agency also requests comments on this amendment.
NHTSA is making the amendment final by this document on an interim basis because of the pressing need to permit, early in the school year, the manufacture and sale of restraints that can be used to transport these children. The exclusion terminates on October 1, 2004. After reviewing the comments received on this document, NHTSA will decide whether to exclude these vests from the prohibition on a permanent basis.
Questions regarding this instructor bulletin can be directed to the Department of Education's Office of School Transportation at 916-375-7100.