Mr. Thomas Klos

AROW Global Corp.

924 N. Parkview Circle Mosinee, WI 54455

 

Dear Mr. Klos:

 

This responds to your email to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asking about a letter of interpretation NHTSA issued to Mr. Mike Collingwood of the Illinois DOT on August 11, 2020. The letter concerned the installation of plexiglass barriers installed to the right of the driver in school buses to help minimize the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Please note that our answer below is based on our understanding of the specific information provided in your email.

 

Background

 

NHTSA is authorized by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Safety Act, 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301) to issue Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) that set performance requirements for new motor vehicles and new items of motor vehicle equipment. The Safety Act requires manufacturers to self-certify that their vehicles and equipment conform to all applicable FMVSS in effect on the date of manufacture. NHTSA also investigates safety- related defects.

 

On August 11, 2020, NHTSA responded to Mr. Collingwood’s request regarding the installation of “plexiglass barriers” installed to the right of, and behind, the driver’s seating position on school buses.1 In the letter, NHTSA concluded that the barriers were items of motor vehicle “glazing” that must comply with FMVSS No. 205, “Glazing material.” FMVSS No. 205 applies to glazing installed in motor vehicles prior to first purchase and to aftermarket glazing for use in motor vehicles. The standard incorporates by reference an industry standard, the “American National Standards Institute American National Standard for Safety Glazing Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment Operating on Land Highways-Safety Standard” (ANSI/SAE Z26.1-1996).

 

In the August 2020 letter, NHTSA stated that the barriers located to the right of the driver would be “interior partitions” located in an area requisite for driving visibility. As interior partitions located in an area requisite for driving visibility, the barriers would be required to be of one of the following types of glazing: Items 1, 2, 4, 4A, 10, 11A, 11C, 14, 15A, or 15B.

 


1 Letter to Mr. Mike Collingwood, (August 11, 2020) available at https://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/571.205%20Plexiglass%20Barriers%20(002).htm.


 

   Page 2

 

In your letter, you ask about Table A1 in the ANSI/SAE Z26.1-1996 standard, which provides a list of glazing types that may be used for “[g]lazing to the immediate right and left of the driver” for buses. You state that, because of this category, you historically have not used glazing with AS4 or AS4A designations (hereafter referred to as Item 4 and 4A glazing) on barriers installed to the right of the driver. You ask for guidance to ensure you are using the correct glazing types for interior barriers located to the immediate right and left of the driver.

 

Discussion

 

Items 4 and 4A glazing may be used on barriers (partitions) installed to the right of the driver. Table A1 is located in the appendix to ANSI/SAE Z26.1-1996, and the appendix, as stated in its heading, is not a part of the ANSI standard, but is included for information purposes only.2 Accordingly, when there is any disparity between the language in Table A1 and the standard, the information within the standard prevails.

 

Subsection 4.2 of the ANSI standard specifies that Item 4 and Item 4A glazing may be used in “interior partitions” and does not specifically address the category of “glazing to the immediate right and left of the driver.” Because NHTSA considered the plexiglass barriers referenced in the August 11, 2020 letter to be interior partitions, and because the standard does not exclude the use of Items 4 and 4A glazing in glazing located to the immediate right of the driver, NHTSA concluded that Items 4 and 4A glazing may be used in the partitions.

 

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Callie Roach of my staff at this address or at (202) 366-2992.

 

Sincerely,

 

                      Digitally signed by ANN

ANN ELIZABETH ELIZABETH CARLSON

  Date: 2022.05.31

  13:07:01 -04'00'

CARLSON

 

Ann Carlson

Chief Counsel


Dated: 5/31/22

Ref: FMVSS No. 205

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 The ANSI standard states: “(This Appendix is not a part of American National Standard Safety Code for Safety Glazing Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicles Operating on Land Highways, Z26.1-1996, but is included for information purposes only.)”