Passive Safety in the Coach Industry: Legal Requirements and Key Technological Aspects 2012-36-0239
Public transport is being promoted by many governments in order to reduce road congestion and emissions. When a bus accident occurs it often becomes the focus of media and public attention, especially because the people involved had confidence in the transport and sometimes it is the only means of transport available to them
In Europe, in 1987, with the aim of reducing the number of fatal casualties in rollover accidents, the UNECE Regulation 66 “UNIFORM TECHNICAL PRESCRIPTIONS CONCERNING THE APPROVAL OF LARGE PASSENGER VEHICLES WITH REGARD TO THE STRENGTH OF THEIR SUPERSTRUCTURE”  was published and in 2000 the UNECE Regulation 16 “Uniform provisions concerning the approval of safety belts, restraint systems, child restraint systems and ISOFIX child restraint systems for occupants of power-driven vehicles” included specific requirements for coaches.
From this stage, the countries where passive safety regulation is a concern have adopted various strategies. Some of these countries have joined the UNECE 58 Agreement to adopt the UN ECE technical requirements in their national type approval; whereas others have adopted their own standards, such as Brazil with CONTRAN number 316. The USA is also working hard on its own standards, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has generated the “Motorcoach Safety Action Plan” which encourages rulemaking on safety belts installation and roof integrity.
This paper will describe and compare different safety requirements for the markets of the USA, South America and Europe. Additionally, it will analyze the main technical strategies used by motor coach manufacturers to meet these requirements.