3304-6-15 Lowered-floor minivan and specialty vehicles.

[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 lowered-floor minivan (L-FM) shall meet all of the requirements identified in rules 3304-6-01 to 3304-6-12 of the Administrative Code, when applicable. When the requirements in this rule exceed the requirements in rules 3304-6-01 to 3304-6-12 of the Administrative Code, this rule shall govern.

(A) A minivan can be modified to an L-FM when a consumer's mobility needs will be equally or better served by specifying an L-FM as an alternative to a dropped-floor full-size van. Factors to be considered include the smaller, lower exterior; the impact of less interior maneuvering room; and the ability of the consumer, in a wheelchair, to negotiate a ramp less than thirty inches wide that is fifty-four inches long with a slope of approximately eleven degrees.

(B) The only minivans that may be converted to L-FMs are new vehicles, except as specified in paragraph (B)(2) of this rule. New means dropped-shipped or from a converter's pool, and not previously titled.

(1) These minivans shall meet the following specifications:

(a) A wheelbase of at least one hundred sixteen inches equipped with front-wheel drive instead of all-wheel drive.

(b) Tire size recommended by OEM for greatest GVW (gross vehicle weight).

(c) Power door locks (only if required by the L-FM after-market manufacturer) and windows.

(d) Speed control and tilt steering wheel.

(e) Front air conditioning.

(f) Rear window defrost and wiper.

(g) Heavy duty suspension or trailer towing package.

(h) Rear air conditioning.

(2) Exceptions. If a consumer owns a minivan with the characteristics identified in paragraphs (B)(1)(a) to (B)(1)(h) of this rule, his/her vehicle may be converted when it meets the following requirements:

(a) Has less than twenty-four thousand miles and is less than twenty-four months old;

(b) Is fully covered by the manufacturer's new vehicle warranty as issued to the original purchaser;

(c) Is accepted as suitable for the conversion process by the converter; and

(d) Has been inspected by an inspector hired by RSC pursuant to paragraph (K) of rule 3304-6-04 of the Administrative Code and found to be appropriate for the modifications needed.

(3) All other situations for conversion to an L-FM will be considered by the RTSU of RSC on a case-by-case basis.

(C) Qualified L-FM retail dealers. A qualified L-FM retail dealer shall meet the requirements of paragraphs (A) to (H) of rule 3304-6-03 of the Administrative Code; shall be recognized as a provider of technical service/repairs by the L-FM converter; shall be able to demonstrate the vehicle to RSC consumers at no cost to either RSC or the consumer; shall have a permanent business location in the state of Ohio; shall have, at the location, all facilities necessary to maintain, repair, and replace those components/assemblies excluded from the OEM's warranty; and shall have employee(s) who have been trained and certified by the converter.

(1) The qualified L-FM retail dealer shall not make any structural modifications to an L-FM, and shall not specify to the converter any structural modifications not specifically approved by the RTSU of RSC, even if the consumer offers to pay for the changes. Prohibited features are specified in paragraphs (D)(2) to (D)(2)(c) of this rule.

(2) Qualified L-FM retail dealers who operate more than one facility in Ohio shall conform to paragraphs (B)(1) to (B)(8)(B)(9) of rule 3304-6-03 of the Administrative Code for each location and show that the certificate(s) required by paragraph (B)(7) of rule 3304-6-03 of the Administrative Code apply to all in-state branches. An L-FM retail dealer who is a branch operation of an out-of-state dealer shall show that the certificate(s) required by paragraph (B)(7) of rule 3304-6-03specificallyapply to the Ohio-based branch.

(3) A qualified L-FM retail dealer shall also be a manufacturer-approved dealer for at least one make of manually operated hand controls; one make of servo assisted hand controls; one make of low effort steering; and one make of WTORS and shall have trained experienced technicians to install, adjust, and repair this equipment.

(D) Lowered-floor minivans (L-FMs). An L-FM, in order to be considered under paragraph (A) of this rule, shall conform to the following requirements:

(1) The L-FM shall have the following features (exceptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis):

(a) A one hundred sixteen-inch or longer wheelbase.

(b) A ten-inch to twelve-inch (nominal) lowered floor from the firewall to eighteen inches (approximate) forward of the rear axle.

(c) A powered door, with means for operation if power fails.

(d) A powered ramp, with a means for operation if power fails.

(e) Controls for the door and the ramp on the exterior of the vehicle, and on the interior of the vehicle near the door/ramp, and within the driver's reach. The controls shall have a system to prevent door/ramp operation while the vehicle is in motion.

(f) One quick-release front seat, with three-point restraint for occupant.

(g) WTORS in the mid-section to accommodate restraint of the occupied wheelchair without additional drilling or cutting by the L-FM retail dealer, and anchor points for the three-point restraint for the wheelchair occupant.

(h) A rear bench seat with OEM passenger restraints.

(i) A kneeling feature which complies with paragraph (D)(3)(f) of this rule when recommended by the driver rehabilitation specialist.

(2) An L-FM shall not have any of the following features:

(a) Automatic leveling, except for OEM.

(b) A raised roof.

(c) A sliding ramp, unless successfully crash tested with this configuration.

(3) An L-FM shall conform to the following specifications:

(a) The powered ramp shall be of a sufficient width to safely accommodate the intended user. The actuator shall be of electro-mechanical design. It shall have a side barrier on both sides to within twelve inches of the outboard end. The surface shall be covered with a durable non-slip surface. The ramp shall have an interior means for manual operation, if power fails.

(b) The ramp shall support a routine operating load of six hundred pounds at the midpoint. It shall be capable of supporting a nine hundred pound proof load at its midpoint for one minute without any permanent bending, cracking, or changes, which would detract from its continued performance.

(c) The vehicle shall be a minimum of six inches ground clearance at all points under the body with the following exceptions:

(i) The area under the vehicle, from twenty inches forward and aft of both the front and rear wheel centerlines, shall have a ground clearance of four inches or greater.

(ii) The exhaust pipe and associated components shall have a ground clearance of four inches or greater.

(iii) Regardless of ground clearance measurements, the distance from the lowest point on the vehicle shall be greater that the distance from any wheel rim to the ground.

(d) Jacking points, or similar provisions, shall be provided to permit any tire to be raised to clear the ground. A jack capable of achieving these goals shall be provided together with a sticker identifying the jacking points and any other necessary instructions.

(e) Towing of the vehicle, with the driving wheels raised, shall be possible with the normal apparatus carried by a tow truck.

(f) When the vehicle modification includes a system to raise and/or lower the rear end of the vehicle for reduction of ramp angles for loading, the raising and lowering mechanism shall be capable of withstanding the following tests:

(i) The lifting or lowering mechanism shall be able to withstand a life cycle test of the empty vehicle for four thousand four hundred cycles.

(ii) When the test identified in paragraph (D)(3)(f)(i) of this rule has been completed, the lifting mechanism shall be able to withstand a life cycle test of the vehicle at its maximum GVWR for twenty cycles.

(E) Testing requirements. By means of crash tests conducted in accord with the prescribed procedures, an identical vehicle shall have demonstrated conformance to the following FMVSS:

(1) When part of the hydraulic braking system deviates from that of the unmodified vehicle, the L-FM shall be re-tested and conform to FMVSS 105135.

(2) Impact protection for the driver from the steering column system. Any deviation from the unmodified vehicle's steering assembly that might alter the force developed on the chest body block impacting the steering assembly at fifteen miles per hour, shall require re-testing to meet the criteria of FMVSS 203.

(3) Steering control rearward displacement. If any changes have been made to the steering control system, including but not limited to, the steering wheel, the steering column-shaft assembly, the front structure, the bumper, and the attaching parts, the L-FM shall be tested and meet the criteria of FMVSS 204, steering control rearward displacement.

(4) The seating systems of the vehicle shall have been tested to conform to FMVSS 207.

(5) The vehicle shall have been tested to meet occupant crash protection acceptance criteria of FMVSS 208.

(6) Seat belt assembly anchorages shall have demonstrated conformance in test prescribed in FMVSS 210.

(7) Side door strength. When FMVSS 214, side impact protection, is applicable to the unmodified vehicle, the modified vehicle shall demonstrate conformance to the standard of the prescribed test procedure.

(8) Fuel system integrity. The vehicle shall have demonstrated conformance to FMVSS 301.

(F) Conformance requirements. The applicable components of the finished vehicle shall conform to the following FMVSS/RSC requirements (conformance attested by certification):

(1) Brake hoses. If any brake hoses are different from the unmodified vehicle, those hoses shall be recertified as conforming to FMVSS 106, brake hoses.

(2) Seat belt assemblies. Any deviation in seat belt assemblies from the unmodified vehicle shall be certified as conforming to FMVSS 209.

(3) Flammability of interior materials. Burn resistance of all materials used within the passenger compartment, which have been added by the converter, shall be certified as conforming to FMVSS 302.

(4) Ramp loading. Conformance to the requirements of paragraph (D)(3)(b) of this rule shall be certified.

(5) Kneeling system. Conformance to the requirements of paragraph (D)(3)(f) of this rule shall be certified.

(G) Approved final-stage or intermediate converters of L-FM. The converter who produces an L-FM shall provide evidence that he/she is registered as an intermediate manufacturer or a final stage manufacturer (as defined in 49 C.F.R. 568 ) with the federal department of transportation. The converter shall conform to the requirements of 49 C.F.R. 568.5 or 49 C.F.R. 568.6 , as applicable. The approved final-stage or intermediate converter shall also meet the requirements of paragraph (G) of rule 3304-6-03 of the Administrative Code. The RTSU of RSC will maintain a listing of approved L-FM converters who are in good standing.

(1) The converter shall supply the following documentation about warranty:

(a) From the OEM, identification of those components/assemblies, etc., of the L-FM which are no longer covered under the OEM warranty because of the changes made by the converter.

(b) From the converter, stipulation that those items no longer covered in paragraph (G)(1)(a) of this rule are warranted by the converter as follows:

(i) For structural modifications made on the vehicle unit body and suspension system, warranty conditions, time, and mileage are equal to, or better than, that offered on the unmodified vehicle.

(ii) Non-structural modifications, such as door and power operator, electrical modifications, etc., are warranted for three years ofor more.

(2) Insurance requirements. The converter shall provide proof of liability insurance coverage that provides a minimum of two million dollars for each claim, with a minimum aggregate for a one-year policy period of four million dollars. Proof that such insurance remains in full force and effect shall be provided to RSC on an annual basis. The converter shall notify his/her insurance carrier(s) that RSC shall be notified within thirty days of any reductions in coverage or cancellation.

(3) The converter shall supply an indemnification notice to RSC stating that they shall indemnify and hold RSC, its agents, employees, and consultants harmless from all claims, damages, suits or actions, including any judgment, costs, expenses, and legal fees arising from any modifications made by said converter.

(4) The converter shall supply RSC with a list of the names and addresses of their qualified L-FM retail dealers within Ohio who currently meet all of the converter's requirements for an L-FM retail dealer. This list shall be updated when an L-FM retail dealer has been added or removed. If no changes have been made, the list shall be re-submitted annually. The

(5) The converter shall supply a list, annually, by September thirtieth, of those individuals who have completed their training/certification program, and are authorized to perform warranty and repair work.

(6) The converter shall maintain a list of current owners of vehicles which have been converted (including options/features of each vehicle) to enable a recall, should it be needed.

(7) The converter shall have sufficient records to document and establish engineering practices including the following:

(a) Engineering drawings and specifications maintained on all parts, assemblies, etc. unique to the converter's product(s).

(b) For any changes that are or have been made to the product which could have an effect on the conformance to FMVSS or RSC requirements, documentation that a professional engineer has signed off that there is no detriment to the product with respect to conformance.

(8) The converter shall have documented quality control and assurance procedures- records to assure that:

(a) All items/assemblies made by the converter are within the converter's dimensional, material, performance, and appearance specifications or standards.

(b) All structural welding shall be completed by a certified welder.

(c) For all purchased components/assemblies that could affect the safety of the vehicle, the conformance to FMVSS or to RSC's requirements that they are certified by the supplier, by lot, verifying that they conform to specification; or that they have been inspected using a recognized sampling plan for inspection which rejects the lot on one defect.

(9) The converter agrees that a representative of RSC may inspect/audit the manufacturing and conversion operations and or any available data or process pertaining to the requirements contained in paragraphs (G)(6) to (G)(8)(c) of this rule.

(10) With respect to conformance to FMVSS, the converter shall supply:

(a) Documentation that crash tests have been conducted at a recognized independent testing facility supervised and approved by a registered professional engineer with verification that the vehicle passed the criteria for acceptance of FMVSS 135, 203, 204, 207, 208, 210, 214 (when applicable to the unmodified vehicle), and 301;

(b) Certification documentation that the products, materials, and assemblies used in the vehicle conform to FMVSS 106, 203, and 209 as applicable; and

(c) Certification that the delivered product does not differ from the vehicle tested and approved under the requirements in paragraphs (G)(10)(a) and (G)(10)(b) of this rule.

(H) Specialty vehicles. Specialty vehicles are considered vehicles that are not full-sized vans and do not conform with paragraph (B) of this rule. At the discretion of the RTSU of RSC, structural modifications may be considered to specialty vehicles if the vehicle complies with paragraphs (D) to (G) of this rule. Exceptions for special design characteristics which are different from paragraphs (D) to (G) of this rule may be made on a case by case basis and shall be documented by the RTSU of RSC before the approval process begins.

Effective: 08/04/2008
R.C. 119.032 review dates: 04/02/2008 and 07/01/2013
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 3304.16(A)
Rule Amplifies: 3304.16(H)
Prior Effective Dates: 05/10/1995, 08/02/1999, 06/03/2002