3304-6-09 Occupant protection and restraint system.

[Comment: For dates of non-regulatory government publications, publications of recognized organizations and associations, federal rules, and federal statutory provisions referenced in this rule, see the "Incorporation by Reference" section at the end of rule 3304-6-01 of the Administrative Code.]

(A) Restraints for driver/passenger not seated in a wheelchair.

(1) Passenger and driver restraints installed as part of an adaptive equipment modification to a vehicle shall meet the requirements of FMVSS 209, seat belt assemblies and FMVSS 210, seat belt assembly anchorages as applicable to the design of the belt system that is installed and shall be installed in the manner prescribed by the system's manufacturer. Restraints shall meet these design and installation requirements regardless of the design of the seat or other accommodation that may be provided for the driver or passenger.

(2) Passenger- and driver-restraint systems installed as a part of an adaptive modification to a vehicle shall provide an upper torso restraint through the use of a shoulder belt or harness regardless of the riding position in the vehicle. The upper torso restraint anchorage points shall meet the design requirements of SAE J383.

(a) Passenger and driver restraints for a driver/passenger not seated in a wheelchair, as well as the driver restraints for a driver riding in a removable driver's seat pursuant to paragraph (B)(1)(d)(x) of rule 3304-6-10 of the Administrative Code, shall meet the requirements specified in paragraph (A)(1) of this rule.

(b) Chest straps or other devices to be used in conjunction with a shoulder belt shall be provided if necessary for the consumer's upper torso stability.

(c) All passenger- and driver-restraint systems modifications shall be situated so that the person with a disability is facing forwards.

(3) Driver restraints installed as part of an adaptive equipment modification to a vehicle shall be suitable for independent operation by the driver for whom it is supplied.

(B) Restraints for driver/passenger seated in a wheelchair. The wheelchair tie-down and occupant-restraint system (WTORS) intended for use by the person seated in a wheelchair includes a system or device for wheelchair tie-down as well as a separate and complimentary system for occupant restraint.

(1) WTORS shall meet the following specifications:

(a) WTORS shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, and shall be through-bolted with minimum grade 5 bolts into a structural member or sheet metal of at least sixteen-gauge or back plating of at least sixteen-gauge sheet metal that is a minimum of sixteen square inches in size and has been through-bolted or welded to the vehicle body.

(b) The manufacturer of the WTORS to be installed shall certify that the system meets the following requirements:

(i) For use in conjunction with a safety belt system, the system shall keep the wheelchair and occupant securely restrained in a thirty mile per hour frontal collision into an immovable barrier. The deceleration level at the floor of the vehicle during the collision shall be defined as twenty G's (G= 32.2 feet/second/second). The manufacturer shall provide documentation that the tie-down meets this criteria when fully tested dynamically and under identical conditions on an impact sled simulator equal to the sled facility at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), or that the tie-down complies with SAE J2249.

(ii) The system shall not be attached to van doors and shall not depend on friction.

(iii) The system shall not be attached to the wheels of the wheelchair.

(iv) The system shall not be attached to any wheelchair part that is designed for easy removal, for example, footrests or armrests.

(v) The system shall allow the consumer, when he/she is the driver, to independently maneuver the wheelchair into and out of the driving position and to independently engage the tie-down and chest straps or other devices necessary for upper torso stability.

(vi) The power-operated wheelchair tie-down for a driver shall be wired so that the release of the tie-down can only be activated when the ignition switch is off or so that an audible alarm sounds whenever the ignition is turned on and the wheelchair lockdown mechanism is not engaged.

(c) A wheelchair tie-down for a passenger shall be a belt tie-down using standard or retractable belts unless a power-operated tie-down has been justified by the driver rehabilitation specialist and the RTSU of RSC has approved it.

(d) A wheelchair tie-down for a passenger may utilize fabric loops attached to the wheelchair to facilitate reaching a suitable attachment point on the wheelchair if the loops are obtained from the same manufacturer as the wheelchair tie-down.

(e) All retail dealer installed lap belts shall cross the occupant at the "H-Point".

(2) Based on engineering analysis and test results provided by the manufacturer or supplier, innovative designs for wheelchair tie-down and occupant restraint systems not envisioned under the requirements of this rule may be utilized with the approval of the RTSU of RSC.

(C) Unoccupied wheelchair/scooter restraints. Wheelchair/scooter restraints for securing a wheelchair/scooter after its user has transferred into a vehicle seat include devices for retention of a folded wheelchair as well as devices for retention of a wheelchair in its unfolded state. Vehicles equipped with transfer seats shall have restraints to secure the unoccupied wheelchair/scooter and shall be placed in such a position to allow the consumer to transfer satisfactorily.

(1) Such restraints need not meet the criteria described in paragraphs (B) to (B)(1)(b)(iv) of this rule.

(2) Such restraints often mounted facing sideways shall be labeled "For Unoccupied Wheelchair Only."

(D) Inflatable restraint system. The inflatable restraint system consists of sensor(s), diagnostics, inflator(s), and module(s) which inflate a bag in certain vehicle crashes to assist the occupant(s) from impacting the interior portion of the vehicle.

(1) Consistent with NHTSA in accordance with 49 C.F.R. 595, an air bag may be permanently deactivated when it is necessary to remove the steering column in order to place the consumer in the best position to operate steering controls as described in rule 3304-6-13 of the Administrative Code or when air bag on/off switches do not exist and drivers using adaptive devices are not able to be positioned far enough away from the air bag to avoid injury.

(a) When the steering column/steering wheel is removed as part of the modifications, the passenger side air bag shall remain in operation unless the vehicle steering column wiring prevents this. If the consumer wishes the passenger side airbag to be removed/disabled, he/she shall follow the process described in paragraph (D)(2) of this rule.

(b) When the steering column/steering wheel is not removed but the air bag is deactivated, a retrofit air bag on/off switch, if available, shall be installed to allow drivers without a disability to use the air bag.

(2) When additional vehicle modifications due to disability are not required, NHTSA does not grant permission for air bag deactivation under the exemption to the make inoperative prohibition. In these situations, the consumer shall complete a request for removal of an air bag form, and submit for approval to NHTSA (or comply with current NHTSA regulations regarding air bag removal/deactivation). Once such a waiver is obtained from NHTSA, copies shall be kept by the retail dealer and the consumer. If removal of the steering column is not implicit in the vehicle modification prescription and the evaluation does not explicitly indicate the need for permanent air bag deactivation due to positioning, such removal/deactivation of an air bag is strictly the prerogative and responsibility of the consumer, to be pursued by the consumer through the procedures made available by NHTSA.

Replaces: 3304-6-09

R.C. 119.032 review dates: 05/25/2012 and 05/25/2017
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 3304.16(A)
Rule Amplifies: 3304.16(H)
Prior Effective Dates: 9/4/90, 5/10/95, 8/2/99, 6/3/02, 8/4/08