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One of the most frequently asked questions by Parents, Teachers and Students is, "Why are there no Seat Belts on the Bus ?"

Safe transportation of children traveling to and from home, school and extracurricular school activities is a matter of concern to all involved - Parents, Students, School Officials, Transportation Companies, Coach Operators and the Federal and Provincial Government.

Over the years in Canada, much of this transportation has been done on both School Buses and Chartered Motor Coaches which have been designed for this purpose and which must meet 35 Federal and Provincial Government safety standards. In addition to these equipment standards, Provincial Governments and School Boards have adopted various measures for Driver Qualifications and Training, special rules of the road for both School Buses and Chartered Motor Coaches.

Transport Canada has conducted extensive School Bus collision test with mannequins retained in Lap-Only seat belts and Unrestrained mannequins. The purpose of these tests was to observe the movement of the dummies within the vehicle during a Frontal Collision. The tests consisted of a crash into a barrier at a speed of approximately 48 km/h (30mph) to simulate a severe frontal collision.

These tests revealed that the use of Lap Belts MAY RESULT IN MORE SEVERE HEAD AND NECK INJURIES FOR BELTED THAN UNBELTED OCCUPANTS during a Frontal Collision. Unbelted mannequins moved forward during the collision hitting the seat in front with their Chest, Neck, and head, whereas the belted mannequins tended to Jack-Knife and hit the seat in front, FULL FORCE WITH THEIR HEAD ONLY...

The stringent standards for School Bus and Chartered Buses are based on exhaustive testing conducted in both Canada and United States. Occupant protection is provided by containing students between high-backed, heavily padded closely spaced seats. This feature is referred to as "Compartmentalization". In other words, by giving the occupants a relatively confined environment to move in, and ensuring the padding is thick enough to absorb the pressure of the impacts when required, injuries are kept to a minimum.

Your child is16 TIMES SAFER RIDING IN A SCHOOL BUS OR A CHARTERED BUS than He/She would be riding in a car ! !....

This conclusion is based on a comparison of the injury rates per passenger kilometer of travel for Bus occupants versus all motor vehicle occupants. This estimate assumes that the buses carry an average of 20 occupants per vehicle, while all other motor vehicles carried an average of 2 per vehicle. The conclusion to date, of testing and in-depth accident investigations both in Canada and United States suggest the unique seat spacing and padding requirements and other factors such as the relatively large size of the buses, result in very few fatalities or serious injuries. Transport Canada also states that the passive occupant protection provided by the stronger seat functions provide excellent protection for the occupants.        

 *This information is taken from Transport Canada's Background Paper on School Bus Occupant*

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