Charles Hott, the former NHTSA school bus administrator who who spearheaded numerous federal school bus safety standards and oversaw vehicle testing, passed away over the weekend. He was 67.
Hott retired as a safety engineer with NHTSA five years ago and worked on a number of hallmark publications and federal safety rules for the student transportation industry, notably the 2002 report to Congress on school bus crashworthiness and the revised FMVSS 222 on occupant protection in 2008. Known for his straight-forward analysis to industry associations and the media, Hott was a sought after expert on school bus crash and safety news.
NASDPTS and other industry organizations, such as the National School Transportation Association and the National Association for Pupil Transportation, worked closely with Hott and his office over the years in helping to shape school bus regulations.
“Many of you knew Charlie as I did, as the go-to person at NHTSA and a regular presenter at our conferences on anything having to do with school bus safety and federal standards,” said Charlie Hood, the executive director for NASDPTS.
Hood added that Hott headed school bus standards for NHTSA, which he joined in 1992, “during a pivotal time in our industry, prior to and following two serious, multi-fatality crashes of a former school bus in Carrollton, Kentucky, in 1988 and a school bus in Alton, Texas in 1989.”
In subsequent years, Hood pointed out that Hott oversaw the publication of upgraded regulations for school buses, including emergency exits, and upgraded recommended specifications for school buses by the National Congresses on School Transportation, such as reduced flammability of school bus upholstery. Hott also was a regular participant at the NCST.
Hott served in the U.S. Navy for 13 years and was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He graduated from John Hopkins University.
He is survived by two sons, Brian Hott and Chris Hott; three sisters, eight brothers; a niece whom he raised, Deanna Whyrock; and a special friend, Stacy Meredith. He was preceded in death by a brother, David Hott.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Minnich Funeral Home, 415 E. Wilson Blvd., in Hagerstown, Maryland. Military honors will be provided by Joint Veterans Council and Marine Corp. League of Hagerstown. The family added that it will receive friends Tuesday at the funeral home from 6 to 9 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a local Veterans Association of one’s choice.