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A school bus crash


test conducted in June at IMMI’s Center for Advanced Product Evaluation showed the difference of belted and unbelted passengers in a semi-rollover crash.


A school bus crash test conducted in June at IMMI’s Center for Advanced Product Evaluation showed the difference of belted and unbelted passengers in a semi-rollover crash. See the footage at stnonline.com/ videos.


dreams with the help of local crash investigators, who performed a controlled crash test demonstration to address child safety concerns. IPTA Executive Director Chris Darling told School Transportation News that the crash was designed to be a rollover crash—but the school bus did not roll over. Instead, the crash behaved more like a front-impact crash, and the results confirmed to the organizers that compartmentalization did not prevent unbelted occu- pants from flying out of their seats. Already, crash tests performed by school bus seating manufacturer IMMI, as well as the National Transportation Safety Board investigations of high-profile school bus crashes, have confirmed that compartmentalization is not sufficient in protecting students from side-impact and rollover crashes.


IMMI performed its latest crash test demonstration at


its Center for Advanced Product Evaluation to open the STN EXPO Indianapolis in June. The event was also in- tended to result in a school bus rollover, but the bus only partially tipped over on its side, after it was launched off a ramp at approximately 35 mph. The video of the crash, which was released by NBC


News in late August, showed that belted crash-test dummies were restrained in their seats, while unbelted dummies were launched throughout the bus. “It was much more violent than I expected, just based on that speed,” said Samantha Harshman, transporta-


tion director at Wabash City Schools in Indiana, who witnessed the IMMI event. “[The bus] didn’t seem [to be going] very fast, but there was a lot of damage. Hard to manage how much worse it would be at highway speeds.”


When asked about the school bus crash test footage in her documentary, Rau said she was shocked by how dramatic the videos are, with kids hitting the ceiling and being ejected out of windows. “I think they would dramatically influence, so that peo- ple can wrap their heads around how dangerous buses can be in these really rare accidents,” Rau said. “And, even side-impact crashes and compartmentation, to show what that looks like. You hear this idea, and you hear it explained to you, ‘Well it’s like an egg carton, they are all nestled in their little spots and when there is an accident, they are kept in their seat by the squishy seat in front of them.’ It sounds so idealistic. And then you see it, and you’re like wow, I don’t want my kid doing that. If that is your protection, I don’t want it. I would like a seatbelt on my kid.”


Protecting Every Student Diana Hollander, the Nevada state director for pupil transportation, opened the July STN EXPO Reno panel discussion, “Implementing Procedures for Lap/Shoul- der Seatbelts in School Buses,” by reading the room. She asked how many attendees in the audience agreed that


Continued on page 36 www.stnonline.com 33

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