Every day, about 500,000 school buses transport more than 25 million students to and from school. The time established to evacuate a burning school bus is two minutes or less. Within three minutes, the bus can be fully engulfed in flames. Fires aboard school buses occur more often than most people realize. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that between 1999 and 2003, there was an average 2,210 school bus fires annually.
The people of Nevada and Maryland should now be proud to uphold the highest of fire safety standards for their children. These laws are a much-needed update to regulations that had not been codified since the 1960’s. On an effort to pass legislation in select states mandating fire safety standards for school buses, only Maryland and Nevada have so far passed the bill and have been signed into law by their respective Governors.
The new law in Nevada requires all new school buses to have fire resistant seating and V0 plastic in the engine compartment. Senate Bill 318 establishes provisions governing permissible flammability of certain components in school buses used or purchased on or after January 1, 2014. Senator David R. Parks (Clark County Senatorial District No. 7) suggested this amendment making the bill effective only for newly acquired buses. This act becomes effective on July 1, 2011. For more information and specific details regarding this bill, click here.
In Maryland, Senate Bill 369 requires a school bus to be constructed of materials that meet the criteria of the school bus seat upholstery fire block test established by the National School Transportation specifications and procedures adopted at the most recent National Congress on School Transportation. The bill, sponsored by Senator Conway, specifies that it applies to school buses procured for use in Maryland on or after January 1, 2014. This will be effective starting October 1, 2011. To read more about this Senate Bill, click here.
For more information about fire safety in school environments, check out:
Schools are for Learning, no Burning .