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September 16, 2011  |   Comments (3)   |   Post a comment

Mass. district equips all buses with lap-shoulder belts


WESTFIELD, Ind. — In May, Waltham Public Schools’ (WPS) School Committee unanimously decided to equip its entire school bus fleet with lap-shoulder belts, and IMMI has now completed installation of its SafeGuard seating products on all of the buses.

WPS’ decision to equip its fleet of school buses with lap-shoulder belts is the first district-wide move in Massachusetts history, officials said.

For over two years, the Waltham4Seatbelts grassroots group, with the support of Waltham Fire Chief Richard Cardillo, worked to educate the Waltham School Committee on the benefits and expected costs of adding lap-shoulder belts to WPS buses.

After more than 800 Waltham residents signed a petition requesting that the Waltham School Committee add language to its request for bids school bus contract that included a requirement to equip buses with lap-shoulder belts, the committee unanimously voted to outfit its subsequent school bus fleet with lap-shoulder belts.

Illinois Central School Bus, which was eventually awarded the transportation contract and named the district’s new fleet provider, selected IMMI to install SafeGuard seats on its new Thomas Built school buses and to train school personnel, students and drivers on the use and care of the new seats.

“We are very happy to see that all our hard work has resulted in Waltham offering the safest possible transportation for our children to get to and from school every day, and especially for the long highway travel typically associated with field trips and sporting and club travel,” said Rachel Learned, Waltham4Seatbelts founder. “It’s reassuring to the parents on our committee, as well as the hundreds of parents we formally represent that our children will now climb onto buses equipped with lap and shoulder belts. We’re grateful to the school committee, the school superintendent, our fire chief and all those who saw the need for enhancing bus safety for all passengers.”

“We’re excited to be a part of this unprecedented move in the New England area to equip buses with lap and shoulder seating,” added Charlie Vits, IMMI’s market development manager of sales. “Because our SafeGuard seating provides both compartmentalization and lap-shoulder protection, we’re confident that we’ll be able to satisfy Waltham’s interest in safety for belted bus passengers.”

For more information on the Waltham4Seatbelts group, visit For more information on IMMI and its line of SafeGuard seating products, visit or

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I don't believe seat belts belong on a bus I have driven buses with them and that is another distraction for a bus driver. They use them to choke each other trip each other and if the bus caught on fire you would never get them off the bus. Who is going to make sure they stay in them??? The buses are made for safety if they set properly in their seat and not moving or standing. Kids these days do what they want to do not what they are suppose to do. If they get hurt or caught out of a seat belt guess who will take the heat. The bus driver. This is not a good idea.

Brenda    |    Sep 20, 2011 03:08 PM

I am a bus driver myself. The tech school at which I work has a small bus, with seat belts. When I remind the students to buckle up, the response is "Are you serious?" "Yes, and it is for you safety that I remind you to buckle up." I have no way of monitoring the students while I am driving. My responsibility for the riders to be buckled ends with my reminding them to use the belts.

Lassie Henry    |    Sep 20, 2011 09:01 AM

I visited their website. I find it odd that the first two crashes they depict on the website most likely wouldn't have ended differently if the buses had seatbelts, as they both involved heavy intrusion into the passenger area.

T.J.    |    Sep 19, 2011 10:10 AM

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