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.
— Ann Keil (@AnnKeilFOX59) August 9, 2013
Overheard: “We need a grassroots movement here and focus on saving children’s lives.” #bussafety101
— SafeGuard (@SafeGuardSeat) August 8, 2013
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 down — it 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.