On Monday Christopher A. Hart, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), discussed "To Belt or Not to Belt: That is the Question" at the NAPT Summit and NASDPTS Annual Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. He also touched on the dangers of distracted driving and sleep apnea among school bus drivers.
Today’s marketplace is sending signals on what’s to come in the next generation of school bus seating technology. The biggest trends — cited by seating suppliers and a recent School Transportation News survey of transportation directors — point to the need for vandalism prevention, style enhancement, optimized capacity, weight reduction and restraints, especially as state laws address three-point seat belts on large buses.
State Rep. Robert L. Kosowski last month introduced two bills to the Michigan House with the same goal — requiring seat belts on new school buses — and both remain in the House Transportation Committee. HB 5436, or “The Pupil Transportation Act,” would mandate that all new school buses provide a seat belt for every pupil, yet does not specify if it must be a lap belt or a lap/shoulder belt.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a notice of proposed rulemaking for the first-ever side impact crash test for child restraint systems for children weighing up to 40 pounds in passenger vehicles.
IMMI, the manufacturer of the SafeGuard line of seat belts and child restraint systems for school buses and other vehicles, crashed a school bus head-on into a concrete barrier at 25 mph to demonstrate the impact lap-shoulder seat belts can have on students.
Earlier this month, the Missouri House approved a bill that would permit school districts to create new revenue by displaying advertisements on school bus interiors and exteriors, and HB 1273 has since been assigned to the Senate Education Committee. But before sending it to the Senate, the House enacted an amendment that bundles in a separate, and equally controversial, issue — seat belts.