AVON LAKE, Ohio — Two school districts here recently received new school buses equipped with lap-shoulder belts for use in a pilot program designed to test their ability to enhance safety and help with behavior management.
Avon Lake City Schools and Beachwood City Schools each received the 72-passenger Blue Bird school buses in June, Rudolph Breglia, a citizen advocate with the School Bus Safety Alliance, told School Bus Fleet. (Avon Lake received two buses and Beachwood took delivery of one bus.) The buses will be used for field trips and sporting events that involve highway travel as part of a pilot program. The school districts will monitor safety and student behavior as part of the pilot, Breglia added.
“I believe that these recent exemplary actions by Beachwood and Avon Lake will be the turning point in Ohio and will encourage other school districts to coordinate or pool their local resources and protect their children by installing lap-shoulder seat belts in all their new buses,” Breglia said.
As SBF previously reported, the Avon Lake City Council approved in May legislation that would support a pilot program to install lap-shoulder belts on school buses. Meanwhile, Beachwood City Council passed legislation in December to require lap-shoulder belts on all new school buses. The council provided up to $250,000 in funding to pay for the equipment.
Bob Scott, the district superintendent for Avon Lake City Schools, told The Chronicle-Telegram that although school buses are among the safest forms of transportation, the lap-shoulder belts add another layer of safety in the event of “a side impact or a rollover that the compartmentalization of buses can’t take care of.” He added that if the pilot program is considered to be a success, the district may replace more of its buses with lap-shoulder belt-equipped buses as they reach retirement age.