The Today Show on NBC aired interior school bus video of how belted and unbelted crash dummies performed during a SafeGuard/IMMI school bus crash that was held during the STN EXPO Indy conference in June.
The never-before-seen footage captured by the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation (CAPE) at IMMI shows unbelted crash dummies flying into adjacent seats, hitting other dummies on the bus, and being thrown out of seats and hitting seatbacks with a forceful impact.
The belted dummies in lap/shoulder three-point seatbelts, however, stayed in place during the crash test. Those dummies shifted only slightly at the force of impact.
The school bus contained 15 crash dummies, in all, eight of which were wearing the seatbelts. The school bus was moving at 35 mph and was pulled by a thick steel wire onto an angled ramp, then into a CAPE barricade wall. While the crash test was designed to be a rollover crash, the school bus instead rolled on its left side wheels until the final impact and landed on its side.
The NBC video showed one particular crash dummy that went airborne inside the bus during the crash, flying across the aisle and hitting the seat adjacent to him with his head. His neck was snapped back as he crashed into a seat.
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Two other dummies were not buckled in, as they rose out of their seats and landed on the opposite side of the bus. The dummies then became wedged down into the seat cushion and spacing, as the school bus reached its final impact point.
The NBC segment reporter, Vicky Nguyen, showed the inside footage to Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. Sen. Duckworth introduced the School Bus Safety Act on July 25 along with Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee.
“It’s pretty horrific,” Duckworth acknowledged in an interview with Nguyen. “Anybody who is a parent, anybody that cares about children if they saw this, they would be horrified of the dangers they are putting their children into.”
The new bill adds fire suppression systems and enhanced school bus driver oversight to a previous call for three-point seat belts, automatic braking, electronic stability controls, event data recorders, passenger detection systems and sleep apnea studies. The previous bill introduced in September 2018 did not make it out of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.