ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Feasibility Study for a Trial of Seat Belts on Contract School Buses Operating in Non Public Transport Areas of Western Australia

Swadling, Debra, Newman, Shannon

School Safety


ARRB Transport Research Ltd was contracted by the Western Australian Department of Transport to conduct a feasibility study into the potential of conducting a trial of seat belts in contract school buses in non-public transport areas.

The purpose of this review was not to determine any relevant safety issues, but to ascertain from a close examination of Australian Design Rules (ADRs), Australian Standards, the Australian Road Rules, the WA Road Traffic Act (1974) and the WA Road Traffic Code (1975), whether it is technically possible to conduct such a trial, and whether any issues exist among these documents which might have an impact on conducting a trial.

In addition, the issue is further examined to determine the potential cost and capacity implications for the WA school bus fleet if the WA Government proceeds with legislation or a code of practice to initiate the use of seat belts in school buses. The purposes of any seat belt trial (if one is conducted) would be to:
- gauge the public reaction to having seat belts on buses;
- determine whether students will wear them if they are provided;
- determine the problems faced by drivers and other parties involved; and
- determine the impact on the capacity of buses.

This report summarises developments in overseas jurisdictions relating to the fitment and legislative requirements associated with seatbelts in buses. It examines the current status in other States and Territories in Australia with regard to seat belts on school buses.

The report also presents a discussion of vehicle design issues, as they relate to the vehicles used to transport children to and from school in Western Australia, identifying concerns and difficulties for consideration should a trial of seatbelts be developed for contract buses in this jurisdiction. Finally, cost and capacity implications for conducting a trial and for implementing seat belts on school buses are presented.