DES MOINES, Iowa — The effectiveness of lap-shoulder belts on school buses will be evaluated in a new test program at Iowa’s largest school district.
Des Moines Public Schools’ seat belt study will involve two Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner C2 school buses equipped with SynTec Seating Solutions’ S3C seats.
After the new buses are built at the Thomas C2 plant, they will be delivered to SynTec’s facility and converted to lap-shoulder seats as part of SynTec’s Seat Back Exchange Program. The converted buses will arrive at Thomas Bus Sales of Iowa in Des Moines for delivery to Des Moines Public Schools.
The school district will monitor the impact of the lap-shoulder belts during the 2016-17 school year, collecting data on the following questions:
1. Do the children automatically buckle up?
2. Do the lap-shoulder belts keep passengers in their seats?
3. How do the lap-shoulder belts impact discipline inside the bus?
4. What is the drivers' acceptance of lap-shoulder belts on the bus?
5. Do the drivers perceive lap-shoulder belts as helping them to focus on driving?
The project will be led by Todd Liston, director of school transportation for Des Moines Public Schools. Liston said that he plans to use the information collected to gauge the potential benefits of lap-shoulder belts for students and drivers.
“We are very excited to observe the reaction of students and drivers as they use the S3C lap-shoulder seat,” Liston said. “[SynTec's] S3C lap-shoulder seat is incredibly versatile, and we’re confident in the safety their seats will provide our students during this program.”
Max Christensen, state director of pupil transportation at the Iowa Department of Education, was also instrumental in coordinating the project and will monitor the results.
“I'm excited to observe this program, and I'm looking forward to the results,” Christensen said. “This project will give us some real-world experience in regard to the effectiveness of lap-shoulder belts in school buses, and we anticipate some positive results.”