Calls to Upgrade to Lap-Shoulder Belts Just Got Louder

Posted on: June 25th, 2018 by Staff

The list of national organizations making their support for lap-shoulder seat belts on school buses crystal clear continues to grow more impressive and harder to ignore. The NTSB is the latest to definitively add their name.

“We have always tiptoed around the issue of seat belt usage [and] lap-shoulder belts in school buses,” NTSB Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt admitted during a recent board meeting regarding investigations into high profile school bus crashes in Baltimore and Chattanooga. The NTSB went on to recommend 42 states with no current seat belt requirement, “enact legislation to require all new large school buses be equipped with passenger lap-shoulder belts for all passenger seating positions.”

For states like New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Louisiana that already mandate seat belts, the NTSB recommended an upgrade in requirements from lap belts to lap-shoulder belts. Equipping new buses with three-point belts is the common approach for upgrading a fleet over time, but districts wanting to be proactive with their existing buses have options, especially if their buses are made by IC Bus. For all buses 2010 and younger, IC features the BTI seating system which allows for a quick and easily upgrade from lap belts to lap-shoulder belts or integrated child seats by switching seat backs. A full retrofit is unnecessary.

While the NTSB went on record with their firmest statement of support yet, it should be noted they are actually a long-time proponent of lap-shoulder belts on school buses and have done more to advocate for them than any other government agency or organization. They’ve studied crashes firsthand, run the simulations, and have scientific proof seat belts on school buses make a difference. In recent years, the NTSB even went so far as to produce a video on the benefits of wearing seat belts on school buses. Their findings and statements following the devastating November 2017 crashes in Baltimore and Chattanooga put to rest any doubt where they stand on the issue.

And they are not alone. NHTSA, NASDPTS, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The National Safety Council, The National PTA, and millions of parents want seat belts on school buses. Three-point belts are proven to save lives and reduce injuries in school bus crashes, especially when compartmentalization fails in side impacts and rollovers. These organizations have studied the issue extensively, have separated fact from fiction, and have seen that adding lap-shoulder belts does not reduce capacity, slow evacuations, or add potential weapons to a school bus. What lap-shoulder belts do is better protect students, with the added benefits of reducing bullying, improving behavior, decreasing driver distraction, and improving driver satisfaction at a time when drivers are in high demand.

Many school buses now travel further than ever on interstates and highways where they run at greater speeds surrounded by vehicles just as large and heavy as they are. The days of school buses sticking only to slow side streets is over, and children need more protection as a result than they did ten and twenty years ago. School transportation has changed, and the NTSB recognizes that the methods used to protect students need to evolve as well.

As Chairman Sumwalt said numerous times during the meeting, “Safety demands oversight that puts lives first.” Doing so means following the NTSB’s new recommendation and installing or upgrading to lap-shoulder belts on our nation’s school buses.

For Safety – This Is How We ‘Roll’

Posted on: June 9th, 2016 by Staff

The saying, “Go big or go home,” could not have been more apt for a recent IMMI undertaking. Determined to get the word out about RollTek, the only rollover protection system designed to protect truck drivers in the deadliest kind of crash they can face, IMMI decided to show the world how well the system worked in a real world crash. So on a sunny May day, on an old World War II airfield in Converse, Indiana, we did just that.

This wasn’t the first time IMMI had performed such a test, but it was the first time we’d done it for the public. CAPE, the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation, is one of the only teams in the world with the ability to conduct this type of crash test demonstration, and we’re fortunate they work with us. The demonstration was a huge success, wowing industry leaders and drivers who were on hand to witness this once in a lifetime safety event.

More than 50% of truck driver deaths occur in rollovers. RollTek is proven in the field to improve the driver’s (or passenger’s, if so equipped) chance to walk away, and RollTek is the ONLY rollover protection available for the driver. It does not come standard. Fleets must ask for it to ensure their drivers have the best protection available.

If you’d like to see how RollTek works, check out RollTek.com, or watch it in action during our rollover event below. The video is pretty spectacular, and we think you’ll see why RollTek could save a driver’s life.

 

UberFamily: GOing the Distance

Posted on: May 26th, 2015 by Staff

Uber - GO

For decades, if a parent wanted to ensure their child was as safely secured in a taxi or car service, they had to supply their own car seat. Considering how heavy many car seats are, that’s not very feasible. Most of these seats are not designed to be portable, and taxi drivers had no interest in keeping one in the trunk, because they take up so much room.

That’s when Uber stepped in.  Uber, the popular ride-sharing service wanted to offer a forward facing child seat for parents, so they turned to an expert for help. Dr. Alisa Baer, known nationally as The Car Seat Lady, knew just the solution to suit Uber’s needs: The IMMI GO seat.

GO_Harness_iso_RGBIMMI was already working on updating the GO for use in the municipality market. It’s the perfect car seat for police and child services who need a seat in an emergency that’s portable, easy to install, and takes up little room in the trunk.

Stylish, low-profile, and thoroughly tested at CAPE, the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation, the GO was a perfect fit for Uber, and the ideal solution for city-dwelling or traveling parents. Launched in New York City under the uberFAMILY option, parents can request a child seat for an additional $10 a ride. Now parents no longer needed to lug heavy car seats with them as they travel about the city, or hold their child in the back of a taxi and hope for an uneventful ride. With uberFAMILY, parents can navigate city life, or a vacation with their kids, with one less thing to worry about.

carseatlady1For her part, the Car Seat Lady did more than just connect Uber with the IMMI GO. Championing the use of car seats in taxis and other ride-sharing options for years, she made sure this first of its kind program was launched right. She regularly trains Uber drivers on how to properly install the IMMI GO seat, as well as how to correctly secure a child in them. Now, her vision of safer travel for children in these types of vehicles is catching on. Branching out, Uber has launched their uberFAMILY option in New York City, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, and more cities are on the way.

If you’re interested in your own IMMI GO, or you want to know more about it, please visit immigoseat.com.

Good Morning America Takes a Closer Look at Seat Belts on School Buses

Posted on: March 31st, 2015 by Staff

When ABC News investigated why lap-shoulder seat belts aren’t on school buses, they came to IMMI.  As the only organization currently doing any real research in this area, IMMI lent our testing, engineering and safety expertise to help out. For years, opponents have voiced outdated and untrue excuses that have kept this vital safety equipment off most school buses all over the country. It’s frustrating to hear the same tired excuses repeated as truth when the evidence shows another story, and evidence is exactly what we shared with ABC News.

IMMI turned to CAPE, the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation, a test house that has safety tested more school buses and child car seats than any other test house in the world. CAPE performed a 30mph frontal barrier and rollover crash demonstration for Paula Faris, weekend anchor of Good Morning America, and her ABC News crew. Watch what happened to the unbelted “students” versus those in lap-shoulder belts.


World News Videos | ABC World News

As a result of our testing and this story, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to revisit the issue.

Statistically, school buses are one of the safest vehicles on the road, but the industry can do better. The idea that compartmentalization alone is enough to protect our kids is simply not true. Even when it works, and it doesn’t in a side impact or rollover, who wants their child forcibly thrown into the seat back in front of them when there’s a better safety option available?

We encourage you to browse our site and look at the most popular excuses. We separate the fact from the fiction here, and you can also see other crash demonstrations we’ve conducted that show similar results.

No More Excuses. It’s time for SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts on our children’s school buses.

Pioneering Safety: Camp RZR Brimstone

Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by Rachael

Picture 1

IMMI had a blast at Camp RZR Brimstone. The Polaris event, held for their trail riders in Huntsville, Tennessee, had it all. Thousands of riders enjoyed nightly concerts, Polaris demos, competitions, and exceptional service. Polaris appreciates their riders and it shows with events like these. There was something for everyone, and IMMI was honored to join in the fun as a Polaris partner.

Picture 2What we enjoyed most was showing off our new Click6 harness, and the reaction from riders was amazing. They loved how our harness gave them the protection they needed on the trails, but still allowed them freedom to move. Unlike other harnesses, the Click6 doesn’t strap you against the seat the moment you buckle up, making it hard for you to reach the dash or look out your door. You can move freely in the Click6 until you need it to keep you safe, and then it locks you securely in place. Easy to use, the Click6 offers six points of protection and one point of connection. When several riders confessed that they didn’t wear their seat belts as a general rule, but that they would wear the Click6 because it was so comfortable, that made our day.

picture 3We also demonstrated our CargoBuckle ratchet tie-down. Riders were impressed with how easy and fast it was to secure their Polaris with our product. With the money riders spend on their UTVs, they want the best tie-down available, and they found it to be CargoBuckle.

We’re grateful to Polaris for their increasing commitment to rider safety, and for inviting us to join them at Camp RZR East. A special thanks to all the riders and families that stopped by to experience the Click6. We had a great time talking to everyone, and we’re looking forward to meeting even more riders at Camp RZR West in Glamis, California from October 31-November 2. If you’re there, stop by and try out the Click6 for yourself. We’re giving away 1,000 t-shirts, so come by early before we run out!

Truck Safety Event

Posted on: August 21st, 2014 by Rachael

August 26, 2014
Westfield, IN

IMMI, the leading manufacturer of seat belts for all heavy, commercial trucks in North America, recently demonstrated the importance of seat belts and advanced safety equipment for truck drivers by crashing the cab of a large semi-truck head-on into the largest barrier block in the world. “We are committed to continually improving the safety of our nation’s truck drivers, and we were pleased to host nearly 200 safety-minded industry professionals at our event,” said Larry Gray, IMMI CEO. “Not only did we vividly demonstrate why it is vital for drivers to wear their seat belts, we also showed our RollTek side-roll protection system, which can better protect them in the worst kind of crash a truck driver can face – a rollover.”

This exclusive crash demonstration took place at CAPE, the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation. Inside the truck were two test dummies – one wearing a seat belt and one without – to show what happens to truck drivers and passengers during a crash. Nearly 700 drivers/passengers lost their lives in 2012, of which, 34% percent of them were not wearing a seat belt (2012 FARS Data, U.S. Department of Transportation).

IMMI’s patented air bag system, RollTek, was also deployed in a separate demonstration concerning overturned trucks, which are the deadliest kind of accident for truck drivers. Out of all truck crash-related deaths, over 50% happen in a rollover.

IMMI goes the distance to protect our nation’s truck drivers. With inventions like Komfort Latch, 4Front, and RollTek, the only advanced side-roll protection system that protects drivers when their vehicle overturns, IMMI is also behind the Click, Tug, and Snug campaign, created to encourage seat belt use in the commercial trucking industry.

IMMI was also pleased to welcome 30 engineering students from Westfield High School, who witnessed the crash.

Check out more crash test videos on our YouTube page.

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Breaking: NHTSA Requires Seat Belts in Large Buses

Posted on: November 22nd, 2013 by Rachael

Bringing Safety to People

Before now, most large buses (ex: motorcoaches) did not have lap and shoulder seat belts. IMMI® has been making motorocoach seats with seat belts since 2009 – well ahead of this federal mandate – because it’s just a part of our mission to bring safety to people. (Full NHSTA press release)

This new ruling has some caveats and can be a little difficult to understand. To help, we made this handy infographic.  Did you know that seat belts on school buses was expressly excluded in this new ruling? We think we should get it mandated next time. Click here to see just a few reasons why there should be seat belts on school buses.

If you agree that there are No More Excuses® and that it’s time for seat belts on school buses, request an advocate kit to get the movement started in your area.

advocate button

motorcoach infographic

IMMI is Safe & Sound

Posted on: September 4th, 2013 by Rachael

Safe & Sound

(via Current in Westfield)

Posted by 

Safety products in van are tested in the CAPE facility, which has crash tested more school buses than anywhere else in the world. (Photos by Robert Herrington)

Safety products in van are tested in the CAPE facility, which has
crash tested more school buses than anywhere else in the world. (Photos by Robert Herrington)

IMMI President Tom Anthony explains how a Westfield company became a global leader in safety

For more than 50 years, Westfield-based IMMI has been an industry leader in the design, testing and manufacturing of advanced safety systems. Located along U.S. 31 just south of East 191st Street, IMMI is the largest manufacturer in Hamilton County. It employs more than 700 people, making it the eighth largest private employer in Indiana.

IMMI began in 1961 at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and St. Clair Street in Indianapolis.

IMMI began in 1961 at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and St. Clair Street in Indianapolis.

“We never had an overnight success,” President James Thomas “Tom” Anthony said. “Nobody’s asking for unique, simple, and elegant that over time people can’t do without.”

The story of IMMI actually began in 1915 with Anthony’s grandfather, James “Jim” Lesley Anthony. Jim started Uniform UHL, an automotive parts store supplying pieces for the 30 different manufacturers around Indianapolis.

IMMI started in 1961 at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and StClair Street in Indianapolis with four people and two sewing machines. Indiana Mills & Manufacturing – with mills referring to the woven component in products – was in the back portion of Uniform UHL.

“My dad removed the horse stalls in the (former) fire house,” Anthony said. “Cars lined up all around the block to get retrofitted seatbelts. If they wanted to get them early they would come in and help pack them.”

In 1971, IMMI moved to Hamilton County and was located in buildings two-and-a-half blocks apart in what is now the Carmel Arts & Design District.

“There was more product on trucks going between buildings than on floors,” Anthony said.

CEO Larry Gray, left, and President Tom Anthony

CEO Larry Gray, left, and President Tom Anthony

In 1986, the company expanded its property size four times and moved to Westfield. Fifty two years since it began, IMMI has 1,000 employees and operates six facilities in North America, Asia, and Europe.

IMMI produces hundreds of innovative products for various industrial sectors, including the school bus, commercial vehicle, fire/ambulance, child seating, military, off-road, and motor coach industries.

“We’ve protected tens of millions of lives with their work ethic,” Anthony said. “Our passion is safety. We have two primary domains: protect people making their living behind the wheel and protect children from the first ride home from the hospital until they get their first set of car keys. They are making a life saving device.”

Anthony said its commercial products include boat and cargo buckle tie down systems.

“We’re doing all of the Greyhound seating now as they begin to retrofit and build new buses,” he said. “When we began we were just trying to put seatbelts in vehicles and kids in car seats. It was very simple. As safety began to get more sophisticated we saw the need to jump boards from just the webbing, belt and buckle, seating structures and inflatables.”

Anthony said one area that didn’t exist and has made the most advancement is child passenger safety. In the late 1970s, IMMI designed the five-point buckle system for child restraints and later created the first central adjustment child seat and SafeGuard family of products. As part of President Bill Clinton’s Blue Ribbon Panel, IMMI worked with other industry leaders to create a better anchor and latch process for vehicle child seats.

“We’re protecting over 10 million children every day,” CEO Larry Gray said. “We’re proud we are protecting 700,000 students every day, but yellow school buses transport 24 million students every day. We’re just beginning to scratch the surface.”Working on Child Seat

IMMI also protects 300,000 firefighters every day. The country’s largest fire department, FDNY, awarded them a special commendation for their work in the advancement of safety for first responders in June 2012.

“IMMI is dedicated to not only bringing safety to our first responders here in our own backyard, but also around the world,” Gray said.

Former WFD Fire Chief Todd Burtron, who now works as Mayor Andy Cook’s chief of staff, explained that Westfield serves as a beta test site working with IMMI on safety products that help save the lives of their fellow firefighters across the nation. These products include the Smart Dock air tank securing system and a rollover system that deploys air bags and tightens seatbelts.

“They’re a global company prominent in our industry,” he said, adding the company recently did research and development on occupant restraints in the back of an ambulance. “They rode with us, observed how people moved around in the compartment. It was a real-life test opportunity.”

The interior of IMMI provides warehouse and manufacturing spaces at the Westfield headquarters.

The interior of IMMI provides warehouse and manufacturing spaces
at the Westfield headquarters.

“We have good relations with both Westfield and Noblesville fire departments. That’s where the knowledge resides. Our relationships with them are invaluable,” Anthony said.

IMMI holds two distinctions in the crash testing industry. Its Center for Advanced Product Evaluation has a 2.2 million pound barrier block – the largest in the world. CAPE also has the distinction of having crash tested more school bus seats than any other test house in the world. In addition to school buses, CAPE also tests semi trucks, fire trucks, light rail trains and ambulances.

“The big stuff is what we do here,” ‎Marketing Communications Manager Marissa Cotten said. “We do a lot of testing of bus seats and child restraints here. Everybody knows us as the people who put seatbelts on buses, but it’s just one part.”

SafeGuard: School Bus Safety 101

Posted on: August 9th, 2013 by Rachael

On Thursday, August 8, we hosted “SafeGuard: School Bus Safety 101” with our SafeGuard Bus Seating brand. Attendees were presented with the facts and misinformation surrounding school buses and seat belts, and then they were invited to witness a live school bus crash test into our CAPE facility‘s barrier wall.  The goal was to educate safety advocates, parents, school officials, and government officials on the safety benefits of the well-known yellow school bus as well as the issue of seat belts on school buses.

Is it time to put seat belts on school buses? After more than 50 years of the school bus industry lagging behind the safety restraint industry, ABSOLUTELY. In addition to this article, here’s an infographic that demonstrates why there are No More Excuses.

Over 100 people attended the event ranging from national transportation officials to parent-teacher organization members.   Each left the event with a new perspective on the issues and safety surrounding the school bus.  We live-tweeted the event on Twitter using the #BusSafety101 hashtag, so feel free to read through and catch up on what happened.

 

 

 

Seems like common sense to want seat belts on school buses, right? What’s stopping the safety trend? There are several forms of misinformation out there that we are dispelling.

MYTH #1. Compartmentalization (higher seat backs and extra seat padding) is enough to protect students in school buses.
“School buses are the safest form of transportation with many government manufacturing standards,” our Vice President James Johnson assured the guests. “But the current standards do not adequately protect students in the event of a side roll or a roll over crash event.”  Compartmentalization, in other words, does well when the school bus is in a frontal or a rear crash, but it has some huge safety weaknesses.

How glaring is the safety issue of a side roll/rollover crash in a school bus with out seat belts? Here’s a two videos to demonstrate the need for lap-shoulder seat belts to prevent serious injuries in these events.

 

Fact #1: Compartmentalization, while effective, is not enough protection for students on school buses.

MYTH #2: Seat belts on school buses slow down evacuations.

This simply isn’t true.  With over 200,000 of our seats in use today, we surveyed and interviewed students, bus drivers, transportation directors and board members. Drivers told us that even during an accident on their bus, it wasn’t the seat belts that slowed students downit was the bottleneck that occurred at the exit points (the rear door, front door, and window exits).

FACT #2: Seat belts HELP evacuations. An uninjured child will be quicker to evacuate than an injured one.

MYTH #3: Seat belts can be used as weapons on the school bus.

While this may have been true with the hold lap belts with heavy metal buckles, our seat belts are RETRACTABLE lap-shoulder belts. The seat belt webbing retracts into the seat back, and the buckles are lightweight making it virtually impossible for the seat belts to be used as weapons. Seat belts as weapons? It’s just not true anymore.

In fact, our customers have reported that the behavior on their school buses equipped with seat belts (and an enforced usage policy) has drastically improved. When students are required to stay seated and facing forward, it makes for a better behaved bus, less bullying, and increased safety.

FACT #3: Seat belts actually improve behavior in the school bus, and they CANNOT be used as weapons.

Don’t want to take our word for it? Check out this video in which bus drivers, transportation directors, and school officials describe their experiences with school bus seat belts.