Bill S6165-2011

Relates to updating the fire safety components of school buses

Relates to updating the fire safety components of school buses; requires the commissioner of transportation to promulgate rules and regulations establishing standards for testing to promote the fire safety of school buses; further requires all plastic components contained in the engine compartment of every school bus manufactured in this state on or after January 1, 2014 to meet V-0 classification when tested in accordance with Underwriters Laboratories standards for safety UL 94.

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  • Jan 9, 2012: REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6165

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to updating the fire safety components of school buses

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to update and modernize school bus equipment standards to improve fire safety.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1. adds a new subdivision 21-j to section 375 of the vehicle and traffic law to provide that occupant seating in school buses meet the fire safety criteria of the American Society for Testing Materials test E 1537. Additionally, a new subdivision 21-k is added to section 375 of the vehicle and traffic law to provide that all plastic components contained in the engine compartment of every school bus meet a v-o classification when tested in accordance with Underwriters Laboratories standards for safety UL 94.

JUSTIFICATION: This bill updates and modernizes school bus fire safety standards for both the seating and the engine compartment to ensure that students in New York State will continue to travel in the safest vehicle possible. Moreover, the new testing standards will take effect in a manner that imposes little or no cost to the school bus industry.

Federal standard #302 for the flammability of school bus seating has not been updated since 1967. Since that time, the "paper bag test", similar to that embodied in American society for Testing Materials test E 1537 has proven to provide more comprehensive protection for school bus passengers. In fact, several of the largest school bus manufacturers, and several of the smaller enterprises, already install seating that meets the testing criteria of ASTM E 1537 and perform a paper bag test on their own volition. Moreover, NYS DOT regulations already require this standard for certain school buses that transport students with disabilities. Federal standard #302 was intended to prevent the effects of cigarette ignitions in cars whereas the ASTM E 1531 standard is widely accepted because it more closely simulates a real fire threat. A fire suppression system that meets the standard would cause the flame to extinguish or progress at a much slower rate, giving riders critical minutes to escape. The standard also does not drive any particular technology and provides manufacturers with the flexibility to choose how best to comply.

Plastic engine components often provide as much fuel for engine fires as liquefied fuels. The purpose of this standard is to ensure that when the plastic is confronted with a flame, burning stops within 10 seconds on a vertical specimen and no flaming particles drip from the plastic.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: The provisions of the bill do not apply retroactively and do not become effective until January 1, 2014 to allow the industry time to incorporate these standards without disruption to current contracts, orders or to the procurement process. Some manufacturers already incorporate the standards prescribed by this legislation and would incur no fiscal implications. For manufacturers that do not currently comply with either updated safety standard, the fiscal implications are estimated to be between $32 and $267 per school bus (the average purchase price of a school bus is $80,000) depending on the type of technology used to comply.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This legislation takes effect immediately to allow NYS DOT the proper time to implement regulations, but the new safety standards apply only to school buses manufactured for use in New York state on or after January 1, 2014.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6165 IN SENATE January 9, 2012 ___________
Introduced by Sen. YOUNG -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to updating the fire safety components of school buses THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 375 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding two new subdivisions 21-j and 21-k to read as follows: 21-J. (A) EVERY SCHOOL BUS MANUFACTURED FOR USE IN THIS STATE ON OR AFTER JANUARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN SHALL CONTAIN OCCUPANT SEAT- ING WHICH MEETS THE FIRE SAFETY CRITERIA OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR TESTING MATERIALS TEST E 1537. (B) THE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION SHALL PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS ESTABLISHING STANDARDS FOR TESTING TO PROMOTE THE FIRE SAFE- TY OF SCHOOL BUSES AND SHALL INCLUDE BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS: 1. THAT WHEN THE TEST IS CONDUCTED ON A COMPLETE SEAT ASSEMBLY INSIDE A TEST ROOM OR A SCHOOL BUS THAT THE SEATING WILL FAIL THE REQUIREMENTS OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION IF EITHER THE SEAT ASSEMBLY EXHIB- ITS A WEIGHT LOSS OF THREE POUNDS OR GREATER DURING THE FIRST TEN MINUTES OF THE TEST OR THE SEAT ASSEMBLY EXHIBITS A HEAT RELEASE RATE OF EIGHTY KILOWATTS OR GREATER. 2. THAT ON AND AFTER THE DATE THE FIRE SAFETY STANDARDS TAKE EFFECT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SUBDIVISION NO SCHOOL BUS SHALL BE SOLD OR OFFERED FOR SALE IN THIS STATE UNLESS THE MANUFACTURER HAS CERTIFIED TO SUCH COMMISSIONER, IN A FORM ACCEPTABLE TO SUCH COMMISSIONER, THAT THE FIRE SAFETY CRITERIA STANDARDS PRESCRIBED BY THIS SUBDIVISION HAVE BEEN MET. 21-K. (A) ALL PLASTIC COMPONENTS CONTAINED IN THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT OF EVERY SCHOOL BUS MANUFACTURED FOR USE IN THIS STATE ON OR AFTER JANU- ARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN SHALL MEET A V-0 CLASSIFICATION WHEN TESTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH UNDERWRITERS LABORATORIES STANDARDS FOR SAFETY UL 94. (B) THE COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION SHALL PROMULGATE RULES AND REGULATIONS ESTABLISHING STANDARDS FOR TESTING OF PLASTIC ENGINE COMPO-
NENTS AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION TO PROMOTE THE FIRE SAFETY OF SCHOOL BUSES AND SHALL INCLUDE BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENT: THAT ON AND AFTER THE DATE THE FIRE SAFETY STAND- ARDS TAKE EFFECT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SUBDIVISION NO SCHOOL BUS SHALL BE SOLD OR OFFERED FOR SALE IN THIS STATE UNLESS THE MANUFACTURER HAS CERTIFIED TO SUCH COMMISSIONER, IN A FORM ACCEPTABLE TO SUCH COMMISSION- ER, THAT THE FIRE SAFETY CRITERIA STANDARDS PRESCRIBED BY THIS SUBDIVI- SION HAVE BEEN MET. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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