Seat Belts Pilot Project
June 8th, 2020
STSWR is proud to announce our latest initiative to support student and rider safety: the Seat Belts Pilot Project.
The school bus is one of the safest modes of transportation and provides good protection for passengers through “compartmentalization” in addition to the size and weight of the vehicle. Compartmentalization is achieved through high-backed, thickly padded and closely spaced seating found in all school buses. These safety features provide good protection in most collisions for their occupants.
Research has identified opportunities to make the school buses safer, especially in case of side impacts and rollovers. The three points seat belts would provide for an extra safety measure.
The STSWR pilot project will involve twelve school buses equipped with three point seat belts. Seven of these buses are scheduled to start in September with an additional five school buses added later in the school year.
The pilot project will allow us to better understand and overcome the challenges caused by the addition of seat belts on vehicle capacity, rider acceptance and compliance, timing of loading and unloading.
The flexible design of the seat belts allows for two or three students per seat. The height adjustment is easily raised or lowered to adapt to the student size making the seatbelt safe for students from ages 3 to 18.
The experience from school boards that have adopted seat belts has been very positive on multiple aspects: improved driver attention to the road, reduced student behavioural incidents, good adoption from students, improved safety in crashes, and reduction of injuries.
Phasing in seatbelts will take approximately 13 years before all school buses in Waterloo Region are equipped with seatbelts based on the life cycle of vehicles. STSWR is taking the opportunity to run a pilot this year with the fleet replacement of twelve buses. We have opted to limit the pilot to twelve buses to ensure the success of this important safety initiative.
Student Transportation Services of Waterloo Region Inc.