Advancing School Bus Safety

Posted on: March 5th, 2014 by admin

Monday, March 3, 2014
WESTFIELD, IN

SafeGuard®, a brand of IMMI® – the leading manufacturer of commercial safety, hosted it’s 15th School Bus Crash at the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation (CAPE®) as a part of ongoing school bus safety research. Transportation directors, school officials, and school bus industry leaders toured the campus and participated in the entire safety process — from building the seats bolt-by-bolt to crash testing them for industry-leading safety.

SafeGuard and CAPE have crash tested more school buses than anyone in the country. Just last year, we crashed two large school buses, and we heralded in 2014 with another test to study the safety benefits of compartmentalization in a more real-life scenario. Like in previous crash tests, we placed unrestrained test dummies in incorrect seat positions (not sitting down and facing forward) to simulate what really happens in a bus full of children. In addition to this, we added everyday objects you would find on the bus — cooler filled with water bottles for a field trip and dummies wearing back packs like most young students would do. It’s eye opening what happens – watch for yourself.

Common Misinformation About Seat Belts on School Buses

  1. Compartmentalization is enough protection for students.
    FALSE. Just look what happens in a rollover – both in a real one, and in a crash test.
  2. Seat belts slow down evacuations.
    FALSE. Click here to learn how seat belts help evacuations.
  3. Seat belts reduce school bus capacity.
    FALSE. The capacity issue has been solved with the FlexSeat which comfortable fits 2 older children or 3 younger children with the added safety benefits of lap-shoulder seat belts.
  4. Seat belts can be used as weapons on the school bus.
    FALSE. While this may have been true with the older-style lap belts, our SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts are RETRACTABLE. The seat belt webbing (strap) retracts into the seat back, as they do in your car. The buckles are lightweight, making them virtually impossible to be used as weapons. Seat belts as weapons? It’s just not true anymore. Seat belts can actually improve behavior on the school bus by helping keep kids in their seats. Find out why by clicking here.
  5. Outfitting a bus with seat belts costs too much.
    FALSE. With SafeGuard belts on school buses, it’s only pennies per day over the life of a school bus (12 – 16 years). Technological advances and volume increases that have lowered costs, so Safeguard belts have never been more affordable. Costs have been reduced by as much as 52% since 2003. SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts are a one-time cost, for the life of the bus.

High-Res Gallery

Click on the thumbnail to view the full-size images. To download, click the thumbnails, right-click the large image, and select “Save Image As”.

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Snowy Weather Means Additional Challenges for School Bus Drivers

Posted on: December 12th, 2013 by admin No Comments

As I write this blog post, there is a beautiful fresh coat of snow on the ground. Winter has officially arrived, albeit a little early. We also got a little ice as an “added bonus.” More is in the forecast for today, but most of our schools are sticking to their regular schedules. That means many school buses will likely be navigating some tricky road conditions as they bring children home this afternoon. Bus drivers may face additional challenges on the streets that haven’t been plowed or salted, and with a bus full of rowdy children who just want to get home and play outside, I don’t envy them.

 

This time of year, it’s par for the course, or should I say, road. School buses have to make their way through snow and ice. We’ve all seen the news reports where one or more of them in our districts have slid off or been in an accident. Sometimes they even overturn when a tire leaves the road and suddenly the driver finds the bus tipping into a ditch the snow obscured a half second before. At SafeGuard®, we always want children to have the added protection seat belts on the school bus can bring, but in the winter time, imagine the difference they could make. Bus drivers can better focus on slippery roads. Students would be seated properly rather than in positions that could increase their chances of being injured.
Photo Credit – JF Nadeau/Radio-Canada

 

SafeGuard recently conducted two separate events to demonstrate what happens in a frontal crash when students are out of position. The results were alarming. Compartmentalization is intended to save their lives, but in an accident, the results can still lead to concussions and spinal cord injuries when the children are slammed into the seats and other students. Watch what happened at SafeGuard’s most recent crash test event. The out of position “students” did not fare well, while those in seat belts were considerably more protected.

 

The bus was only going 30mph, and this was a frontal crash, the kind of crash where compartmentalization is supposed to work best. Now imagine how badly it could fail when a bus slides off an icy road and rolls over.

Driving a bus is a tough job made more difficult by snow and ice. When I hear people say that compartmentalization is safe enough, I wonder if they would still agree after experiencing crashes like these first hand. I’m sure for the parents whose children suffer bloody noses, concussions and even worse from the very system designed to protect them might agree that “good enough” is not enough. Not when their children could have potentially been spared such injuries had then been wearing seat belts.

Marissa Cotten
December 12, 2013

If you think seat belts should be on school buses, fill out the advocate request form for more information!
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Breaking: NHTSA Requires Seat Belts in Large Buses

Posted on: November 22nd, 2013 by admin

Bringing Safety to People

Before now, most large buses (ex: motorcoaches) did not have lap and shoulder seat belts. SafeGuard/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.

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motorcoach infographic

Moving Forward in School Bus Safety

Posted on: November 14th, 2013 by admin 1 Comment

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
WESTFIELD, IN

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SafeGuard®, a brand of IMMI® – the leading manufacturer of commercial safety, hosted it’s 14th School Bus Crash at the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation (CAPE®). Safety industry leaders – insurance companies, Indiana State Police officers, school bus manufacturers, and support staff – were all in attendance to witness a School Bus Safety presentation and a live demonstration of a School Bus crash.

SafeGuard and CAPE have tested more School Bus Seats than anyone else in the country. In this crash test, we placed test dummies in several different positions — restrained in three-point SafeGuard seat belts, unrestrained in base seats with out seat belts, and out-of-position (looking over the back of the seat, sitting sideways, etc.). The visual results tell the story. Are school buses safe? No one debates that. However, could they potentially be made safer for our children with increased safety measures like adding lap-shoulder belts? Absolutely.

 

Common Misinformation About Seat Belts on School Buses

  1. Compartmentalization is enough protection for students.
    FALSE. Just look what happens in a rollover – both in a real one, and in a crash test.
  2. Seat belts slow down evacuations.
    FALSE. Click here to learn how seat belts help evacuations.
  3. Seat belts reduce school bus capacity.
    FALSE. The capacity issue has been solved with the FlexSeat which comfortable fits 2 older children or 3 younger children with the added safety benefits of lap-shoulder seat belts.
  4. Seat belts can be used as weapons on the school bus.
    FALSE. While this may have been true with the older-style lap belts, our SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts are RETRACTABLE. The seat belt webbing (strap) retracts into the seat back, as they do in your car. The buckles are lightweight, making them virtually impossible to be used as weapons. Seat belts as weapons? It’s just not true anymore. Seat belts can actually improve behavior on the school bus by helping keep kids in their seats. Find out why by clicking here.
  5. Outfitting a bus with seat belts costs too much.
    FALSE. With SafeGuard belts on school buses, it’s only pennies per day over the life of a school bus (12 – 16 years). Technological advances and volume increases that have lowered costs, so Safeguard belts have never been more affordable. Costs have been reduced by as much as 52% since 2003. SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts are a one-time cost, for the life of the bus.

High-Res Gallery

Click on the thumbnail to view the full-size images. To download, click the thumbnails, right-click the large image, and select “Save Image As”.

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National Child Passenger Safety Week

Posted on: September 16th, 2013 by admin

click to see a larger viewThe fact is undisputable: seat belts reduce injuries and save lives. From the first day our children are brought home from the hospital, we buckle them up. Yet, when they step onto the school bus for that first day of school… it’s typically the first time in their lives that they do not buckle up in a moving vehicle. It’s not because they are refusing to do so. The problem is most aren’t even given the choice.

What message is this sending to our kids? And why do so many people who believe children should be buckled up in a car feel differently about the school bus? In honor of Child Passenger Safety Week, we think it’s time to take a closer look at the issue.

If we want to promote a lifelong habit of buckling up, the mindset against seat belts on school buses has to change. The fact is, the reason so many parents and transportation officials resist installing lap-shoulder belts on school buses is because they are dissuaded by a frightening amount of misinformation. When they learn the facts, they’ll see there are NO MORE EXCUSES™ for leaving such a life-saving behavioral tool off our children’s school buses.

At IMMI®, we’ve heard the argument that lap-shoulder belts will slow down evacuations should the bus roll over. They don’t. An uninjured, conscious child can evacuate much faster than a child who has been injured or knocked unconscious by being tossed around the inside of the bus like clothes in a dryer. You can see from these videos what happens to the unbuckled passengers for yourself.

In a rollover, our seat belts work just like the ones in your car. A student simply has to push the button to release himself and exit the vehicle. Any bottlenecks during evacuations happen at the exits where children must wait to evacuate the vehicle single-file.

You’ve probably heard that school buses are safe enough without seat belts. At IMMI, we disagree. While compartmentalization (keeping children inside a “compartment” between two high backed seats) may keep them from more serious injuries in frontal and rear crashes, it offers no protection in side impacts or rollovers. Not only that, but even a sudden stop sends children face first into the seat in front of them (assuming they are seated correctly). Is compartmentalization really good enough when children can sustain bumps, bruises, broken bones, and concussions from being tossed around the compartment designed to protect them? Perhaps these injuries are survivable, but with students in lap-shoulder belts, many of these injuries can be completely avoidable.

Another popular excuse against seat belts is that they will be used as weapons. Lap-shoulder belts retract into the seat and have a lightweight tongue, making them very difficult to swing at another student. IMMI’s SafeGuard® brand has been making lap-shoulder belts for school buses for more than a decade, and during that time we haven’t received a single report of them being used as a weapon.

Then there is the cost. First off, installing lap-shoulder belts on school buses does NOT reduce capacity requiring districts to purchase more school buses. Secondly, when you break down student usage over a five year period, the cost of installing lap shoulder belts is about 10 cents. Isn’t it worth 10 cents per student usage to better protect our children on the school bus?

Finally, when it comes to bullying and bad behavior on the bus, it’s worth noting that lap-shoulder belts have proven to dramatically improve discipline in districts that enforce their use. Districts with an enforced usage policy have been wowed by the improved behavior, reduced bullying, and lack of injuries in even minor accidents. Bus drivers have told us they are less distracted and enjoy their jobs more when they have the effective combination of lap-shoulder belts and the authority to enforce their use.

There are no more excuses for keeping SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts off school buses. As we raise awareness this week for buckling up our children in the right seat at the right time, let’s not forget the one place many of our children aren’t being buckled up at all. It’s time to change that. It’s time for SafeGuard, by IMMI.

Seat Belts on Buses Do Not Slow Evacuations

Posted on: September 13th, 2013 by admin

For years, SafeGuard has heard excuse after excuse against using lap-shoulder belts on school buses, but there is one in particular we hear from parents. They fear a scenario where seat belts could slow or prevent their child from evacuating in a serious accident. The reality is that without seat belts on your child’s school bus, children might not be able to evacuate at all.

When a school bus rolls over and children aren’t belted in, they are far more likely to suffer serious injuries or to be knocked unconscious, making evacuation more difficult if not impossible without the help of others. The videos below show what happens to unbelted children in a rollover. They are tossed about, slamming into everything from the ceiling to other children, dramatically increasing their risk of injury. The children who are belted in remain safely and securely in their seats.

The seat belts SafeGuard puts on school buses are no different than the ones in your car. Children learn from an early age how to buckle and unbuckle their seat belts, and in the event of an accident on the school bus, it takes a child a second or less to push the button and release himself. By Federal Safety Standards, the force required to push the release button is the same as what your child experiences in your vehicle, even when the belt is under a load such as that caused by the weight of a passenger in a rollover.

What can slow down evacuations is the limit of one person at a time through the rear emergency exit and/or the front door. The use of the side exit windows and roof hatches are an extreme rarity in evacuations, and are even much slower. Lap-shoulder belts help speed up the evacuation process. It is far easier for a conscious, uninjured child to escape.

Just like drills inside the school building, the same kind of emergency preparation should be conducted for students who ride the bus, so children know what to do and where to go in the event of an accident. Being prepared, whether they have seat belts or not, helps keep them calmer and also helps them to evacuate more quickly.

Lap-shoulder belts also help protect your children in other types of crashes as well as sudden stops. When children aren’t wearing lap-shoulder belts on the school bus, a sudden stop propels them into the seat in front of them, often causing minor injuries. When they’re belted in, this doesn’t happen.

It’s time to move past the misinformation that’s been circulating for decades about lap-shoulder belts on school buses. The fact is there is absolutely no proof that seat belts slow the evacuation process. What has been proven is that seat belts can save lives.

No More Excuses – It’s Time for Seat Belts on School Buses.

Posted on: August 30th, 2013 by admin No Comments

There are No More Excuses® — it’s time for seat belts on school buses. With this inforgraphic below, you’ll find out the new statistics and innovations around school buses seat belts as well as the most common misconceptions on the bottom half of the graphic.

Want more information on School Bus Safety? Click here & here for articles we’ve written on the topic.

Want to start a movement in your community for seat belts on school buses? Join us on Facebook, and click here for more advocate resources.

Download the hi-res version here, and share it with your friends!

Circle Infographic -- Finished

School Bus Safety 101

Posted on: August 9th, 2013 by admin

On Thursday, August 8, IMMI, the manufacturer of SafeGuard seats hosted “SafeGuard: School Bus Safety 101.” Indiana Congresswoman Susan Brooks, school officials, federal safety representatives, parents, and law enforcement leaders were presented with the facts and misinformation surrounding school buses and lap-shoulder belts. They all witnessed a live crash demonstration of a school bus into our CAPE facility‘s barrier wall.

The result? A realization that there are No More Excuses. School buses remain the safest form of transportation, but let’s make them safer. Lap-shoulder belts reduce injuries, reduce driver distraction, and improve bad behavior on school buses. In addition to this article, please refer to this infographic that will help provide the additional information you may be seeking.

If you would like to revisit other topics covered during this event, we live-tweeted 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,” IMMI 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 rollover 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 without seat belts? Here are 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 SafeGuard 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 can evacuate more quickly than an injured, or unconscious child.

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

While this may have been true with the older-style lap belts, our SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts are RETRACTABLE. The seat belt webbing (strap) retracts into the seat back, as they do in your car. The buckles are lightweight, making them virtually impossible 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 SafeGuard lap-shoulder 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 reported incidents of bullying, and increased safety.

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

See for yourself. Check out this video in which bus drivers, transportation directors, and school officials describe their experiences with SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts.

Back-to-School Bus Safety Tips

Posted on: July 30th, 2013 by admin No Comments

It’s August and it’s nearly time for all of America’s kids to go back to school. Stay safer with these tips provided in part by First Student and the National Safety Council.

School Bus Safety Tips for Parents & Students

1. Leave plenty of time to arrive safely at the bus stop.

2. Stay alert while traveling to the bus stop – don’t text, listen to loud music in your headphones, playing video games etc.

3. Stay away from the street and follow all traffic safety rules.

4. Stay 12 GIANT steps away from you and the bus at the bus stop so that the bus drivers will ALWAYS see you.

5. Know your driver’s name and bus driver to make sure you board the right bus.

6. When the bus arrives, let it stop completely before approaching it.

7. Always use the handrail when climbing the bus stairs, and sit down immediately.

8. Buckle up if your bus has seat belts! If your bus doesn’t have seat belts, let your school teachers, officials and family members know — and read why there needs to be seat belts on school buses here.

8. Be courteous and respectful to your bus driver, and talk quietly with your friends — don’t yell, or the driver will become distracted.

9. Keep your arms, legs, papers, and anything that belongs to you inside the bus at all times.

10. Be aware, alert and safe!

School Bus Safety Tips for Commuters

1. Slow down when you see flashing yellow lights from the school bus, and stop when they use their flashing red lights/stop arm. You are required by law to stop on BOTH sides on the street when these red lights are lit and/or when the stop arm is extended.

2. Do not attempt to pass a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children, no matter where it is.

3. Do not text and drive, or drive while distracted.

Here’s the hard facts about seat belts on school buses. [Infographic]

Posted on: April 8th, 2013 by admin 2 Comments

The question has been asked time and time again – why aren’t there seat belts on school buses? With the recent school bus rollover in Illinois, this question is fresh on everyone’s mind. Did you know that SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts increase safety and also decrease bad behavior? It’s a win-win situation for everyone – the parents, the students, and the bus drivers.

According to this article from the Chicago Tribune, school bus seat belts are a tough sell. Why is that? Opponents of seat belts on school bus will list several myths that are either (1) outdated or (2) just plain wrong. What are these common myths? Check them out in our infographic below, or click here for a list.

Why is it Time for Seat Belts on School Buses?

Get the hard facts, statistics, and nationwide history of seat belts on school buses in our infographic below. Share this with your friends, and start the community movement to get seat belts on your district’s school buses TODAY.

Click here to view the full-size version.


Common Myths

1. “Compartmentalization Keeps Children Safe Enough.”

Compartmentalization, developed in the 1960s, requires closely spaced, energy absorbing, high-back padded seats. In a frontal crash, children impact the seat in front of them, and that seat absorbs their energy. Now, 50 years later, testing shows that compartmentalization offers protection in frontal & in rear crashes if the children are properly seated, but offers virtually no protection in rollovers or side impacts (1999 NTSB Special Investigation Report). Research by NHTSA indicates that lap-shoulder belts, in very vehicle they have ever been introduced, reduce injuries and fatalites by 45%.

2. “Seat Belts Reduce Bus Capacity.”

In the past, seat designs that included lap-shoulder belts reduced capacity and required a school district to purchase additional buses & reduce routes. However, the capacity issue has been solved! The SafeGuard FlexSeat® offers lap-shoulder seat belt protection and transports 3 elementary age children or 2 high school age children on a standard seat. No additional buses are required, and the fleet capacity is unchanged.

3. “Seat Belts Will Be Used As Weapons.”

In the past, some lap belts (note: different from the recommended lap-shoulder belts) were designed with a massive steel buckle threaded on a long web, making it possible to swing. However, SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts use a lightweight design with a retractable system. The buckle is attached to the seat with a short piece of webbing, making it nearly impossible to swing and use it as a weapon.

4. “Seat Belts Make it Difficult for Children to Evacuate.”

Students are less likely to be injured in a bus accident if they are wearing a lap-shoulder seat belt. A properly restrained child who has not been injured can release himself and evacuate more quickly than an injured child. Buckles are designed to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards. They are thoroughly tested to unlatch with just the push of a button, even in the event of a rollover.

5. “Children Won’t Wear Seat Belts on the School Bus.”

From the moment they are born, children are conditioned to wear seat belts while in any kind of moving vehicle. Studies have shown that with proper and enforced policies in place, administered by the school district, seat belt usage rates can be very high. As with any other bus behavior policy, seat belt usage must be actively reinforced fro the safety of the children.
Within this video, you’ll find testimonials from school districts that were able to effectively enforce seat belt usage:

6. “Seat Belts are Too Expensive.”

The life of a school bus nowadays can be between 12 and 16 years. With SafeGuard belts on school buses, it’s only pennies per day. In addition to technological advances and volume increases that have lowered costs, SafeGuard belts have never been more affordable. Costs have been reduced by as much as 28% since 2003.