A Changed Seatbelt Perspective at STN EXPO Indy

Keith Wicks at the STN EXPO Indy Trade Show 2019. (Photo by Taylor Hannon.)
Keith Wicks at the STN EXPO Indy Trade Show 2019. (Photo by Taylor Hannon.)

Let me introduce you to Keith Wicks, a school bus driver and mechanic for Belgrade School District in Montana. STN EXPO Indianapolis was Wicks’ first EXPO experience in Indianapolis.

Prior to the start of the conference, Wicks informed me that he was opposed to seatbelts in school buses. In case of a fire, he said, he wants all of his students to be able to get out safely. However, after attending the SafeGuard/IMMI school bus crash test demonstration at its Indiana Center for Advanced Product Evaluation on June 6, he has changed his mind.

Wicks had never seen a live school bus crash, which was the same for me, as well. And, after attending that crash test, the demonstration put seatbelts into perspective. Wicks said that he would rather have his students injured than dead. He added that he was surprised at how bad the damage was and said he doesn’t want his own students to have to go through that.

Wicks continued that now he doesn’t feel comfortable placing kids on a school bus without seatbelts at all. He is anticipating the release of footage captured by the inside video cameras, which will appear on NBC News in the fall. But he knows the crash-test dummies that are not in seat belts represented students who would have been badly hurt, if not killed.

Editor’s Note: SafeGuard/IMMI held a school bus crash test demonstration on June 6, 2019, at the beginning of the STN EXPO Indy. The school bus was pulled by a wire rope down the concrete track and over a 20-degree angled ramp. The school bus landed only on its left side wheels and did not completely flip onto its side until hitting the barrier.

Dummies were placed inside the school bus, both belted and unbelted. One crash-test dummy seated toward the rear of the bus was seen with his arm slightly outside the window, following the crash. For more information, pictures and videos of the crash test demonstration, click the links below or visit stnonline.com/tag/stnindy19. 


Related: IMMI/SafeGuard School Bus Crash Test Demonstration
Related: Photo Gallery: SafeGuard School Bus Crash Test Demonstration
Related: SafeGuard School Bus Crash Demo Kicks Off STN EXPO Indy
Related: One-of-a-Kind Training Sessions Announced for STN EXPO Indy
Related: School Bus Test-Crash Video Previews Upcoming Seat Belt Discussion 


Wicks referenced the dummy’s arm sticking out of the school bus and said he would never want any of his kids to go through that. He said d that kids hanging upside down from the seatbelts is safer than them being knocked into windows or worse.

For Wicks, this experience completely changed his perspective. Wicks said he really cares for his kids and wants the best for them, but mostly he wants to transport them safely. Wicks feels he has a great relationship with the kids he transports and their families.

However, one day and one experience changed Wicks’ perspective on a controversial topic in the school transportation industry.

Early Bird registration ends this Friday for STN EXPO in Reno. Register now and you might experience a different perspective as Wicks did.