Now that NHTSA has endorsed a three-point seat belt for every child on a school bus, it might seem daunting trying to determine where to start incorporating seat belts on your own school buses. We have a suggestion that we think both you, and the parents in your district, can agree on: your travel buses.
Or maybe you call them your activity buses. Either way, we’re talking about the school buses you use for sporting events, field trips, and school activities. These buses leave behind the safer and slower speeds of neighborhood streets and are now driving alongside heavy semi-trucks, traveling at 55mph or more on interstates. They go further and faster than the rest, and often, seven days per week. These are the school buses you should outfit first, because the students who are most at risk, need to have the most protection.
Most districts can’t afford to go out and buy a whole new fleet of school buses equipped with lap-shoulder belts, nor can they afford the expense of retrofitting all the buses they currently operate. Seat belts typically need to be phased in with the purchase of each new school bus over however many years that takes. It simply makes sense to start with the school buses that travel the furthest and the fastest, especially when those seat belts could mean the difference between life or death in a high speed crash or rollover. Just watch what can happen to belted versus un-belted students in such a crash.
Parents will want to know why the new seat belts aren’t on their child’s school bus, but when you explain that seat belts have to be phased in, and that you started with the students who are most at risk, most understand. In fact, in all likelihood, their child will be better protected in one of these school buses on the way to a sporting event or field trip, and the parents can take heart knowing their children will have the additional protection lap-shoulder belts provide on such excursions. In districts that have taken this approach, parent support has been high.
You can learn more about the seats SafeGuard offers here.
Or to get started outfitting your school buses with SafeGuard lap-shoulder belts contact SafeGuard at (877) 447-2305 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.