WESTFIELD, Ind. – Traveling 35 mph, a semi-truck slams into a school bus carrying 10 passengers inside.
Thankfully, this is only a simulation at the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation, and the passengers aren’t real.
Officials at Immi, a Westfield company that manufactures seatbelts for school buses, hope their simulation brings awareness to the importance of seatbelt safety.
The simulation crash showed what happened to passengers who were and were not secured by a seatbelt. The incident left shattered glass, dented metal, and several passengers removed from their seats.
Two passengers were left in the aisles and one was thrown out of the window and onto the ground beside the bus. Only a few were still strapped into their seats.
"We just want to continue to help people understand that even though school buses are statistically some of the safest vehicles on the road, they are really some of the only vehicles minus motorcycles that are actually taking people on our highways and in our interstates without lap and shoulder belts,” said Nick Awabdy of Immi.
Company officials said they hope their simulation test can save lives as Indiana does not have a federal or state requirement for safety belts on their buses.
“Anything that would keep them safer is definitely going to be better,” said parent Cassie Johnson. “So, yeah, when I was in school, they didn't have them, and you know, I just think it would be better."
While parents think seatbelts could protect their children, the idea is still up for debate. The American School Bus Council believes school buses, by design, are safe enough due to their high seat backs that provide compartmentalization – similar to how eggs are protected in a carton.
Immi officials hope the crash test encourages school administrators to think about their student’s safety.
In July 2016, Indianapolis Public Schools installed seat belts on 100 of their school buses despite the hefty price tag.
Many districts said one of the biggest reasons for the lack of seat belts lie in the cost. Officials said it cost $7,000 to $10,000 per bus to have belts installed.