Intelligent School Bus Seating - The Future Of School Bus Safety?
published on March 09, 2018 by Sonia Mastros
In a perfect world, cost wouldn't be an issue when it comes to school bus safety. School buses would be outfitted with the latest in safety features to ensure the highest possible rates of safety and accident survivability. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality. Most districts strike a balance between having high levels of safety without having excessive costs with a lot of debates over how to achieve that balance.
School bus seating is often at the center of this discussion. How do we make school bus seats safer? Are seat belts actually effective or worth the cost? People have been going back and forth on that for decades. However, new technologies could substantially change the debate.
Intelligent School Bus Seating Systems of The Future
1. Airbags - Airbags are an area of intensive research when it comes to passenger buses, because they could do so much good – if the costs could be lowered. Side airbags, in particular, could drastically reduce in-bus injuries in the case of a side collision. Groups such as IMMI are currently researching airbag safety and looking for ways to make them affordable for school districts.
It’s certainly a tempting idea, that a bus could effectively inflate its interior to prevent students from slamming into the sides of the bus in the event of a catastrophic accident. Hopefully it will be a reality someday.
2. Smart Seats - The other major focus of development is on better school bus seating systems. High-tech seats like the SafeGuard FlexPlus® are now on the market. These have high-tech features designed to protect students in the event of an accident, such as adjusting their flexibility to keep students compartmentalized (in their seats) while being a soft enough surface to minimize head/neck trauma.
On top of that, they even have built-in indicators that let school districts know when the seats have become too damaged to be reliable in a crash. This would theoretically minimize maintenance costs, since only seats indicating that they’re unsafe ever need to be replaced.
Keeping an Eye On Student Safety
It’s a fast-moving time for school bus technology, and a lot of interesting ideas are being put forward. School districts would be wise to keep an eye on tech trends, and watch out for opportunities to improve in-bus safety as prices drop.
Are there any other school bus seating systems you think have the potential to improve safety? Let’s talk about it!