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H.R.873 - Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011
To improve the safety of motorcoaches and for other purposes.
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Mr. LEWIS of Georgia introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concernedCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.
(1) ADVANCED GLAZING- The term ‘advanced glazing’ means glazing installed in a portal on the side or the roof of a motorcoach that is designed to be highly resistant to partial or complete occupant ejection in all types of motor vehicle crashes.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) BUS- The term ‘bus’ has the meaning given such term in section 571.3(b) of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE- Except as otherwise specified, the term ‘commercial motor vehicle’ has the meaning given such term in
(4) DIRECT TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM- The term ‘direct tire pressure monitoring system’ means a tire pressure monitoring system that is capable of directly detecting when the air pressure level in any tire is significantly underinflated and providing the driver a low tire pressure warning as to which specific tire is significantly underinflated.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) ELECTRONIC ON-BOARD RECORDER- The term ‘electronic on-board recorder’ means an electronic device that acquires and stores data showing the record of duty status of the vehicle operator and performs the functions required of an automatic on-board recording device in section 395.15(b) of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(8) MOTORCOACH- The term ‘motorcoach’ means a bus with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or greater, 16 or more designated seating positions (including the driver), and at least 2 rows of passenger seats rearward of the driver’s seating position that are forward-facing or can be converted to forward-facing without the use of tools, but does not include--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(10) MULTIFUNCTION SCHOOL ACTIVITY BUSES- The term ‘multifunction school activity buses’ has the meaning given such term in section 571.3(b) of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(11) PORTAL- The term ‘portal’ means any opening on the front, sides, rear, or roof of a motorcoach that could, in the event of a crash involving the motorcoach, permit the partial or complete ejection of any occupant from the motorcoach, including a young child.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(12) PROVIDER OF MOTORCOACH SERVICES- The term ‘provider of motorcoach services’ means a motor carrier that provides passenger transportation services with a motorcoach, including per-trip compensation and contracted or chartered compensation.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. REGULATIONS FOR IMPROVED OCCUPANT PROTECTION AND COLLISION AVOIDANCE.
(1) SAFETY BELTS- The Secretary shall issue a final rule in Docket No. NHTSA 2010-0112: Federal Motor Vehicle Standards; Motorcoach Definition; Occupant Crash Protection, to require safety belts to be installed in motorcoaches at each designated seating position.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) FIREFIGHTING EQUIPMENT- The Secretary shall require the installation in motorcoaches of improved fire extinguishers or other readily available firefighting equipment for the purpose of effectively extinguishing fires in motorcoaches to prevent passenger deaths and injuries.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) establishing improved roof standards for motorcoaches that substantially improve the resistance of motorcoach roofs to deformation and intrusion to prevent serious occupant injury in rollover crashes involving motorcoaches; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) requiring advanced glazing to be installed in each motorcoach portal to prevent partial or complete ejection of passengers of motorcoaches, including such passengers that are children.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) Regulations Required Within 2 Years- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prescribe commercial motor vehicle regulations as follows:CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) ROLLOVER CRASH AVOIDANCE- The Secretary shall require motorcoaches to be equipped with stability enhancing technology, such as electronic stability control, or torque vectoring, to reduce the number and frequency of rollover crashes among motorcoaches.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) The Secretary shall issue regulations that require motorcoaches to be equipped with direct tire pressure monitoring systems that warn the operator of a commercial motor vehicle when any tire exhibits a level of air pressure that is below a specified level of air pressure established by the Secretary.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) The regulations prescribed by the Secretary under this section shall include performance requirements to ensure that direct tire pressure monitoring systems are capable of--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) TIRE PERFORMANCE STANDARD- The Secretary shall upgrade performance standards for tires used on motorcoaches, including an enhanced endurance test and a new high-speed performance test.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) NEW MOTORCOACHES- A regulation prescribed in accordance with subsection (a), (b), or (c) shall apply to all motorcoaches manufactured more than 2 years after the date on which the regulation is published as a final rule.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(i) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a regulation prescribed in accordance with subsection (a)(1) shall apply to all motorcoaches used for motorcoach services on or after the effective date of such regulation.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(ii) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a regulation prescribed in accordance with subsection (a)(2) shall apply to all motorcoaches used for motorcoach services on or after the effective date of such regulation.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) EXCEPTION- In the case of a motorcoach that was used for motorcoach services before the effective date of a regulation described in subparagraph (A), such regulation shall not apply to such motorcoach until--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 4. STANDARDS FOR IMPROVED FIRE SAFETY.
(1) FLAMMABILITY STANDARD FOR EXTERIOR COMPONENTS- The Secretary shall examine the feasibility of establishing requirements for fire hardening or fire resistance of motorcoach exterior components to prevent fire and smoke inhalation injuries to occupants.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) SMOKE SUPPRESSION- The Secretary shall review Federal motor vehicle safety standard number 302 (49 C.F.R. 571.302; relating to flammability of interior materials) to consider more realistic tests to improve the resistance of motorcoach interiors and components to burning and permit sufficient time for the safe evacuation of passengers from motorcoaches.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) PREVENTION OF, AND RESISTANCE TO, WHEEL WELL FIRES- The Secretary shall assess technologies to prevent and mitigate the propagation of wheel well fires into the passenger compartment and substantially reduce occupant deaths and injuries from such fires.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) IMPROVED EMERGENCY EVACUATION DESIGNS- Improved emergency exit window, door, roof hatch, and wheelchair lift door designs to expedite access and use by passengers of motorcoaches under all emergency circumstances, including crashes and fires.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) EMERGENCY INTERIOR LIGHTING- Emergency interior lighting systems, including luminescent or retroreflectorized delineation of evacuation paths and exits, that are triggered by a crash or other emergency incidents to accomplish more rapid and effective evacuation of passengers.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) AUTOMATIC FIRE SUPPRESSION- The Secretary shall evaluate requirements for motorcoaches to be equipped with highly effective fire suppression systems that automatically respond to and suppress all fires in such motorcoaches.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Performance Requirements- Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue performance requirements for improved fire safety and passenger evacuation based on the results of the evaluations conducted under subsection (a).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 5. OCCUPANT PROTECTION AND COLLISION AVOIDANCE RESEARCH.
(1) COMPARTMENTALIZATION SAFETY COUNTERMEASURES- Enhanced compartmentalization safety countermeasures for motorcoaches, including enhanced seating designs, to reduce substantially the risk of passengers being thrown from their seats and colliding with other passengers, interior surfaces, and components in the event of a crash involving a motorcoach.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) INTERIOR IMPACT PROTECTION- Enhanced occupant impact protection standards for motorcoach interiors to reduce substantially serious injuries for all passengers of motorcoaches.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Standards and Regulations- Not later than 2 years after the completion of each research initiative required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall issue a standard or regulation based on the results of that research.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 6. NEW ENTRANTS.
(a) Registration Requirements-
‘(1) ADDITIONAL REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR PROVIDERS OR MOTORCOACH SERVICES--In addition to meeting the requirements of subsection (a)(1), the Secretary may register a person to provide motorcoach services only after that person--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(A) undergoes a pre-authorization safety audit, including verification, in a manner sufficient to demonstrate the ability to comply with Federal rules and regulations, of--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(v) disclosure of common ownership, common control, common management, common familial relationship, or other corporate relationship with another motor carrier or applicant for motor carrier authority over the past 3 years;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(viii) the ability to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (
42 U.S.C. 12101et seq.) and the Over-the-Road Bus Transportation Accessibility Act of 2007 ( 49 U.S.C. 10101note);CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(C) has demonstrated, through the successful completion of a written examination developed by the Secretary, proficiency to comply with and carry out the requirements and regulations described in subsection (a)(1).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(2) PRE-AUTHORIZATION SAFETY AUDIT- The pre-authorization safety audit required by paragraph (1)(A) shall be completed on-site no later than 90 days following the submission of an application for operating authority.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(3) FEE- The Secretary may establish, under section 9701 of title 31, a fee of not more than $1,200 for new registrants that as nearly as possible covers the costs of performing a preauthorization safety audit. An amount collected under this subsection shall be deposited in the Highway Trust Fund (other than the Mass Transit Account).’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 7. REINCARNATED CARRIERS.
(a) Registration Requirements-
‘(1) DISCLOSURE OF PRIOR RELATIONSHIPS- In addition to meeting the requirements under subsection (a)(1), the Secretary shall require applicants for authority to transport passengers to disclose any relationship involving common ownership, common management, or common familial relationship between that person and any other motor carrier, if the relationship occurred in the 3-year period preceding the date of the filing of the application for registration.’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) by striking ‘penalty.’ and inserting ‘penalty; and (C) deny, suspend, amend, or revoke all or part of a registration of a motor carrier following a determination by the Secretary that the motor carrier failed to disclose in its application for registration a material fact relevant to its willingness and ability to comply with--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) Procedure- Section 13905(e)(1) of such title is amended by striking ‘registrant’ and inserting ‘registrant, or if the Secretary determines that the registrant has failed to disclose a material fact in its application for registration in accordance with subsection (d)(1)(C),’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(d) Avoiding Compliance- Two or more employers shall not use common ownership, common management, common control, or common familial relationship to enable any or all such employers to avoid compliance, or mask or otherwise conceal noncompliance, or a history of noncompliance, with commercial motor vehicle safety regulations issued under this subchapter, chapter 315, or an order of the Secretary issued under this subchapter, chapter 315, or such regulations. If the Secretary determines that actions described in the preceding sentence have occurred, the Secretary shall deny, suspend, amend, or revoke all or part of any such employer’s registration under section 13905, and shall take into account such noncompliance for purposes of determining civil penalty amount under section 521(b)(2)(D).’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 8. IMPROVED OVERSIGHT OF MOTORCOACH SERVICE PROVIDERS.
‘(A) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall determine the safety fitness of all providers of motorcoach services registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and assign a safety fitness rating to each such provider.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(i) to any provider of motorcoach services registered with the Administration after the date of enactment of the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011, not later than 2 years after the date of registration; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(ii) to any provider of motorcoach services registered with the Administration on or before the date of enactment of that Act, not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of that Act.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(2) PERIODIC REVIEW- The Secretary shall establish a process, by regulation, for monitoring the safety performance of each provider of motorcoach services on a regular basis following the assignment of a safety fitness rating, including progressive intervention to correct unsafe practices.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(3) ENFORCEMENT STRIKE FORCES- In addition to the enhanced monitoring and enforcement actions required under paragraph (2), the Secretary may organize special enforcement strike forces targeting providers of motorcoach services, when and where the Secretary considers appropriate.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(4) PERIODIC UPDATE OF SAFETY FITNESS RATING- As part of the safety review required by this subsection, the Secretary shall reassess such rating no less frequently than every 3 years.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(5) MOTORCOACH SERVICES DEFINED- In this subsection, the term ‘provider of motorcoach services’ has the meaning provided such term in section 2 of the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011.’CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Revision of Safety Fitness Rating Methodology- Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise the safety fitness rating methodology of the Department of Transportation established pursuant to
(c) High-Risk Carrier Compliance Reviews- The second sentence of section 4138 of
SEC. 9. MOTORCOACH DRIVER TRAINING.
(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish, by regulation, minimum curricular requirements for entry-level drivers of motorcoaches and drivers upgrading from one class of commercial driver’s license to another, to be adopted by public and private schools and motor carriers and motorcoach operators that provide training for such drivers.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) Classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction that is adequate for training entry-level drivers of motorcoaches and drivers upgrading from one class of commercial driver’s license to another to safely operate motorcoaches and respond effectively to emergency situations.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall require each motorcoach driver seeking a commercial driver’s license passenger endorsement to undergo a training program that includes the minimum curricular requirements established under subsection (a) before taking a test for a commercial driver’s license passenger endorsement.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) each trainer of a driver seeking a commercial driver’s license passenger endorsement shall submit to the appropriate State licensing authority information on any driver that has successfully completed a motorcoach driver training course that includes the curricular requirements established under subsection (a); andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) the State licensing authority may not administer the skills test for the passenger endorsement nor issue a passenger endorsement to a driver unless the State licensing authority verifies that the driver has successfully completed a motorcoach driver training course as required by subparagraph (A).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) Report on Feasibility, Benefits, and Costs of Establishing a System of Certification of Training Programs- Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce on the feasibility, benefits, and costs of establishing a system of certification of public and private schools and of motor carriers and motorcoach operators that provide motorcoach driver training in accordance with the curricular requirements established by the Secretary under subsection (a).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(d) Nonpreemption of State Programs- The minimum curricular requirements required by this section do not preempt any State or local law or regulation imposing additional or more stringent requirements unless the Secretary determines that--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 10. IMPROVED TESTING FOR THE COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE PASSENGER ENDORSEMENT.
(1) FINAL RULE- Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall issue a final rule in Docket No. FMCSA 2007-27659: Commercial Driver’s License Testing and Commercial Learner’s Permit Standards that improves the quality and stringency of the examination for the commercial driver’s license passenger-carrying endorsement. The final rule shall require--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) a more stringent examination of the driving skills necessary to operate safely a for-hire passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle than the examination of such skills in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Report on Driver’s License Requirements for 9-to-15 Passenger Vans- Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit a plan to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for requiring that all or certain classes of drivers--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) have a commercial driver’s license passenger-carrying endorsement in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle (as defined in
SEC. 11. IMPROVED PHYSICAL FITNESS OVERSIGHT AND COMMERCIAL DRIVER MEDICAL CERTIFICATES.
(2) by striking ‘research.’ and inserting ‘research and (B) advice and recommendations concerning the criteria to be used for evaluating medical examiners for admission to the national registry established under this section.’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Examination Requirements for Listing in the National Registry of Medical Examiners-
‘(iii) certification (including self-certification), as appropriate, to verify that the medical examiner has completed training, including refresher courses, that the Secretary determines are necessary to be listed in the national registry; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) Medical Examination Form Comparisons- Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall require by regulation that each time a medical examiner performs a medical examination to certify an applicant for a commercial driver’s license under section 391.43 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, such medical examiner shall submit to the appropriate State licensing agency the form for such examination required by section 391.43(f) of such title (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(Y) requires State licensing authorities to compare the forms they receive pursuant to section 11(c) of the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011 with the medical examiner’s certificate required by section 391.43(g) of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of that Act), to determine the accuracy and validity of the information contained in such forms and certificates.’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(G) each year, review the licensing authorities of 10 States to assess the accuracy, validity, and timeliness of physical examination reports and medical certificates submitted by certified medical examiners to such State licensing agencies and the processing of such submissions by the licensing authorities.’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) IN GENERAL- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish an oversight policy and process within the Department of Transportation for purposes of carrying out the requirement of subparagraph (G) of such section 31149(c)(1), as added by paragraph (1).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) EFFECTIVE DATE- The requirement of subparagraph (G) of
(f) Deadline for Establishment of National Registry of Medical Examiners- Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a national registry of medical examiners as required by
SEC. 12. SAFETY AND ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGY FOR MOTORCOACHES.
(A) Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations requiring that all motorcoaches used by a motor carrier in interstate commerce be equipped with electronic on-board recorders.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) APPLICABILITY- The regulations prescribed under paragraph (1) shall apply to all such motorcoaches beginning on the date that is 2 years after the date on which the regulation is published as a final rule.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) EVALUATION- Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall complete an evaluation of event data recorders, including requirements regarding specific types of vehicle operations, events and incidents, and systems information to be recorded, for event data recorders to be used on motorcoaches used by motor carriers in interstate commerce. For this purpose, the Secretary shall consider the performance requirements for event data recorders for passenger vehicles under part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS- Within 2 years after completing the evaluation required by paragraph (1), the Secretary shall issue standards and regulations based on the results of that evaluation.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 13. SAFETY INSPECTION PROGRAM FOR COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES OF PASSENGERS.
Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall complete a rulemaking proceeding to consider requiring States to conduct annual inspections of commercial motor vehicles designed or used to transport passengers, including--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) an assessment of the effectiveness of current Federal standards for the inspection of such vehicles in mitigating the risks described in paragraph (1) and to ensure the safe and proper operation condition of such vehicles; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 14. DISTRACTED DRIVING.
‘Sec. 31152. Regulation of the use of distracting devices in motorcoaches
‘(a) In General- No later than 1 year after the enactment of the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2011, the Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe regulations on the use of electronic or wireless devices, including cell phones and other distracting devices, by an individual employed as the operator of a motorcoach (as defined in section 2(8) of that Act).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(b) Basis for Regulations- The Secretary shall base the regulations required by subsection (a) on accident data analysis, the results of ongoing research, and other information, as appropriate.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(c) Prohibited Use- The Secretary shall prohibit the use of such devices in circumstances in which the Secretary determines that their use interferes with the driver’s safe operation of a motorcoach (as so defined).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(d) Permitted Use- Under the regulations, the Secretary may permit the use of a device, the use of which is prohibited under subsection (c), if the Secretary determines that such use is necessary for the safety of the driver or the public in emergency circumstances.’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Conforming Amendment- The table of contents for chapter 311 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 31151 the following:CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 15. MOTORCOACH RENTAL OR LEASING COMPANIES.
‘(ii) offers for rent or lease motor vehicles designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and from the same location or as part of the same business provides names or contact information of drivers, arranges for a driver of the rented or leased passenger-carrying motor vehicle, or holds itself out to the public as a provider of transportation services; butCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(B) does not include an individual who is an employee of the United States Government, a State, or a political subdivision of a State acting in the course of that individual’s employment as such an employee.’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink