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February 12, 2014  |   Comments (3)   |   Post a comment

New NASDPTS paper details support for lap-shoulder belts

By Thomas McMahon


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A new position paper elaborates on the state directors association's recently updated stance on lap-shoulder belts — fully supporting their installation and use in school buses.

A new position paper elaborates on the state directors association's recently updated stance on lap-shoulder belts — fully supporting their installation and use in school buses.

The state directors association on Tuesday released a new position paper that elaborates on its recently updated stance on lap-shoulder belts for school buses.

At the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., in October, the association's board decided to bolster its support for the three-point restraints by dropping a funding clause from its previous position (which said that the association supported lap-shoulder belts if funding was made available for them).

“NASDPTS fully supports the installation and use of lap-shoulder belts in school buses, period, with no ifs, ands or buts,” President Max Christensen said at the conference, with the clarification that “we are not recommending the installation and use, nor are we asking that lap-shoulder belts be required. We believe this should be a local decision based on local need.”

Over the past few months, Christensen and NASDPTS Executive Director Bob Riley have been working on a new lap-shoulder belt position paper, which the association’s board recently approved.

The paper gives a detailed background on the issue, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s 2008 final rule that addressed lap-shoulder belts and the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendations in response to the 2012 school bus crash near Chesterfield, N.J.

The new NASDPTS paper also thoroughly explains the association's position on lap-shoulder belts and lays out 10 supporting points. For example, the paper points to "limits for protection" of compartmentalization alone.

“Compartmentalization offers protection in frontal and in rear crashes assuming passengers are properly seated, but offers limited protection in rollovers or side impacts,” the paper says. “Passengers restrained by lap-shoulder belts are retained in the seating compartment, thus minimizing injury caused by body impact to surroundings.“

Among NASDPTS’ other supporting points are the ability of current lap-shoulder belt systems to maintain bus capacity, NHTSA’s approved technical standards for lap-shoulder belts in school buses, and the design of lap-shoulder belts minimizing the possibility of them being used as a weapon.

To read the full position paper, click here.


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Read more about: NASDPTS, NHTSA, NTSB, seat belts


As a driver of 15 years I am all for safety. I have one BIG question and no one in my corporation will give me a definite answer.If a bus is equipped with lap or 3 point seat belts & there is an accident & the child is NOT wearing their belt who is LIABLE. A driver can only do so much to inforce the wearing of same & I can't imagine the expense of a safety system that would sense weight in a seat & no belt fasten so the bus doesn't move.

Paul Pfisterer    |    May 19, 2014 04:26 PM

School bus drivers give 85% student management on the school bus and 15% on the actual driving the bus. Kids are kids and some kids get bored on long bus routes and need to be reminded constantly not to keep standing up. They sit down and minutes later forget and stand up again.

Rick    |    Feb 21, 2014 06:08 PM

My own kids have argued when they sit in the back seat of our car. I take away my view of the road in order to calm them down. Taking my view off the road for a few seconds can be fetal. As a school bus driver I see even more danger and more possible victims. I dare anyone to get a hold of school bus videos from any school district and see for themselves how especially middle school kids behave while being transported. It would take a miracle for school districts to let you view those videos

Tacho    |    Feb 21, 2014 05:40 PM

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