The Ergonomics and Safety Research Institute, UK, 2001
Buses and coaches are a widely used form of transport for relatively large numbers of people on the European road network. Despite being generically safe, and suffering from relatively few accidents in relation to cars, when accidents do occur they involve large numbers of casualties and hence are high profile events. As a result, attempts have been made to increase the level of protection provided for passengers in these vehicles, including the mandatory provision of seatbelts in all minibuses and coaches used for the carriage of children over three years of age, and for all new buses manufactured since October 2001. The use of a seat belt has obvious benefits for adults but the benefits for children are less clear. Whilst child restraints are commonly used in cars, it is unlikely that this will be the case on minibuses and coaches. The VSRC’s contribution to this project is to assess the suitability of the adult seat belt for use by children. This involves collecting exposure data relating to the extent of coach and minibus travel made by children, analysis of the STATS 19 road accident statistics database, in-depth accident investigation, and trials to evaluate how well the seat belts fit children of varying ages.