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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Motorcoach and School Bus Fire Safety Analysis


The purpose of this effort was to gather and analyze data regarding the severity and frequency of motorcoach and school bus fires from 2009–13 and to update the previous analysis of fires, which focused only on motorcoaches.


The John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) analyzed motorcoach fire incidents that took place between 1995 and 2008 and submitted two reports to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In 2009, Volpe published the very first report in this area—the “Motorcoach Fire Safety Analysis Report.” This report was updated in 2012 with a report entitled “Motorcoach Fire Safety Analysis: The Causes, Frequency, and Severity of Motorcoach Fires in the United States.” FMCSA’s Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division and Commercial Passenger Carrier Division both requested that the most recent “Motorcoach Fire Safety Analysis Report” be updated for fire incidents that occurred between 2009 and 2012, and the latter Division requested that school buses be included in the updated analysis.


Volpe updated its previous analysis, titled "Motorcoach Fire Safety Analysis Report," to include data on motorcoach fires that occurred from 2009–13. In addition, Volpe included an evaluation of school bus fires, expanded on the evaluation of the effectiveness of automatic fire detection and suppression systems, and identified fires caused by replacement of a diesel engine or automatic purging of diesel particulate filters (as possible, based on the availability of applicable data).


The outcome of this analysis was a report that identifies potential ways to prevent, reduce, or mitigate the causes, frequencies, and severity of motorcoach and school bus fires with a focus on improving the effectiveness of State and Federal motorcoach and school bus inspection practices.


December 2014: Kick-off meeting
November 2015: Discussion of analysis of causes of fires with Greyhound hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
August 2016: Final report due


FY 2014: $300,000

Current Status

Final report published and available at:


Last updated: Friday, November 28, 2014