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Old 07-13-2018, 02:03 PM   #1
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Safe Seating in Your Bus?

Hi Everyone!

When driving, are your passengers buckled in with seatbelts? Are they forward facing seats, or mounted seating along the interior side, like a sofa? Or, are your passengers roaming around?

I haven't done research on seatbelts yet, or the laws about seatbelts and motor homes.

Just curious, Thanks much!
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:15 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Trail Fairy View Post
Hi Everyone!

When driving, are your passengers buckled in with seatbelts? Are they forward facing seats, or mounted seating along the interior side, like a sofa? Or, are your passengers roaming around?

I haven't done research on seatbelts yet, or the laws about seatbelts and motor homes.

Just curious, Thanks much!
Trail Fairy I have been wondering the same thing. It seems that states are split on whether or not school bus passengers need to be buckled and the safety information is split as well.

Personally I'd like to be able to have my kids buckled as much as possible while driving but I haven't gotten far enough to worry about that yet.

On a side note, where in Wisconsin are you? I was born there and my extended family lives everywhere from Milwaukee, Grafton, Oconomowoc, Madison, and everywhere in between.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:21 PM   #3
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We're 30 minutes north if Milwaukee. Next time you have plans to visit family, bring your Skoolie this way!!
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:50 PM   #4
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We're 30 minutes north if Milwaukee. Next time you have plans to visit family, bring your Skoolie this way!!
So not far from Grafton at all then? Hopefully I will have a skoolie by then.
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Old 07-13-2018, 03:16 PM   #5
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In my Vista we left the front most seat in place and recovered it. It could carry 2 people with belts.

In our new bus, we're going to mount a nice seat out of a van or SUV for a single passenger. I'll also install a solid mounted belt system for the sofa for the rare occasion we have anyone riding with us.
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Old 07-13-2018, 04:44 PM   #6
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ultimately if you re-use any belted school bus or coach seats the belts shoule be anchored in the same manner they were from the factory.. most often belted seats had bolts through the bus floor and then large thick washers underneath (at least mine do).. the washers are actually called seat belt washers...



if you are installing old car seats or van seats. where you must anchor the belts to the bus floor.. they should be anchored through the floor with seat belt washers underneath..



and of course most people will be using lap belts only so make sure there is not a hard surface in front of the seat... or any unsecured items behind the seat.. the passenger should be able to lean all the way forward and not contact a hard object.. ie a countertop, a metal bush defroster duct, windshield etc..



if you want harnesses.. those harnesses need to be bolted into the structurals of the bus and not just a wood screw in an interior panel or self tapping 3/8 bolt... you want a bolt and nut through something structural..



its completely amazing just how much force is applied to a seatbelt in a crash....



its sucks to do this for something you hope you'll never ever need but its worth it in the end..



to those that wonder about their kids' safety in non belted busses... and im not going to go into the politics of belt vs non belt.. but the Tall angled seat backs that make school bus seats annoying and uncomfortable are designed to keep the kids in the bus safe in a crash.. the idea being that the kid will face-plant the seat in front of them and their legs will flail out underneath that seat also.. locking their body in place till the bus comes to a stop...



supposedly even in a rollover crash.. the concept being that even in a rollover crash the bus is decelerating thus pressing the kids up against that seat.. obviously a lot is theory and every crash has vastly different energies and forces associated...



-Christopher
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:23 PM   #7
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That's a lot if great info Christopher!! Do you happen to have a pic of your set up? Just wondering how forward facing seats with seatbelts can look attractive? School bus seats aren't anything to look at to begin with, haha. Hmmm... Practical, yes. Attractive, idk. My seats didn't come with seatbelts, but I'm thinking of maybe keeping one or two in place just for the driving part and getting seatbelts for them. Not part of my beautiful skoolie dream layout, but that's constantly evolving too...
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:45 PM   #8
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lol my setup is my busses have their seats . im more a bus geek and not converting mine.. I just drive em all over so the seats I have are in factory positions..

-Christopher
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:17 PM   #9
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lol my setup is my busses have their seats . im more a bus geek and not converting mine.. I just drive em all over so the seats I have are in factory positions..

-Christopher
That's too funny, Christopher! Haha Well, you know a lot about seatbelts, thank you.
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Old 07-14-2018, 05:47 PM   #10
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You would be amazed at what Christopher knows (AND shares)
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Old 07-14-2018, 09:56 PM   #11
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I had one seat that folds like a movie theater seat to gain access to one of the emergency doors near the back. I moved it to the front passenger side and turned it around so it faces backward. I plan to make a prettier cover for it than the green vinyl (and Rust-Oleum handprint...oops) and will bolt seatbelts to the floor using the seat nuts and bolts, and attach the assistance bar to the back of the seat.
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Old 07-15-2018, 12:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuppa Tee View Post
I had one seat that folds like a movie theater seat to gain access to one of the emergency doors near the back. I moved it to the front passenger side and turned it around so it faces backward. I plan to make a prettier cover for it than the green vinyl (and Rust-Oleum handprint...oops) and will bolt seatbelts to the floor using the seat nuts and bolts, and attach the assistance bar to the back of the seat.
What's nice about the folding seat is that it is one of two in the bus that have 4 legs and can be mounted on either side.
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Old 07-15-2018, 12:18 AM   #13
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If your passengers are wearing seatbelts how can they possibly, make cookies, take a nap, take a shower or any of the multitude of other things my passengers find to do?
Seriously our front passenger seat (from a conversion van so it can swivel) has a lap and shoulder belt. The only other seatbelt is for the driver.
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Old 07-15-2018, 01:45 AM   #14
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This one is on more of a pedestal rather than legs; a bit precarious and rocky until it's bolted down securely once again, but as safe as any school bus seat facing backward with seatbelts has ever been. ��
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Old 07-15-2018, 06:05 AM   #15
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Can anyone post pictures of your seating setup? Seat belts or not.
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:33 PM   #16
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seats with belts- well mine anyways

All seats in the short bus have built in seat belts. All are cloth.

I have seats from 2017 and 2018 Ford transit vans, Not the transit connect, the big full size 15 passenger vans. These are doubles. These seats can also be removed from bolt in seat latches. You do not need tools to remove the seats, just pull the latch release. The mounts are bolted to the floor. They are about 2" thick, so if you have insulated the floor and plywood, it is possible that the seat mounts are at or below floor level. Means your floor is flat with out the seats in it. The floor mounts have tie down anchor points, so when the seats are out, you can "tie" on to anchor points. Anchor points are forged from the looks of them. Mountings are way way over built.
I would expect safety factor of five or six... That means the engineer came up with numbers needed to do the job and then went five or six times stronger than that.

The doubles, have one seat with baby seat latch points, one seat has an arm rest - the side that was intended to be the "outside" seat. Head rests move up and down. Triples have baby seat latch points on both outer seats.

Transit doubles are about 37" wide and use about 28" of space front to back. weighs - a guess about 45 kilos -100 lbs
Transit triples are about 56" wide and use about 28" of space front to back. Weighs - a guess about 90 kilos - 200 lbs

I will have seating for ten, three doubles, and four singles. The single seats, from the trucking industry, massage, fully recline, swivel, adjust about 14 different things, and are about 20 inches wide at the seat bottom and 26" wide at the arm rests. Cost about $1000 to $1500 each I have to have air and electrical power to make them fully functional.

All people are expected to be belted in while driving or parked on a shoulder.

Three of the adult passenger seats have the ability to swivel, but are expected to be locked in forward or rear ward facing most of the time. Exceptions - tending to little ones, like getting drink, food, stuff like that.
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Old 07-21-2018, 06:01 PM   #17
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Here's what I'm doing with the seats (any commentary is welcome)

For background: I routinely need to transport me (Driver) and 2 adults + 2 kids and 2 babies, maybe up to 4 adults 4 kids + 3 babies.

My bus seats are the standard "school" ones with 3-abreast lap-belts.
These work for only the smallest of children, and they are too close front-to-back for adults to comfortably sit in.

I have unbolted them, and "stretched" them out, remounting them farther apart in the same through-floor + chair rail fashion. I read somewhere that part of the reason that school buses are so safe is because there isn't much room for the kids to fly around fore-and-aft. My stretching of the seat spacing has negated that (if correct) so I'm doing more.

The seats themselves are steel-framed in the seat and backrest areas, and the belts are mounted to those frames. That steel is very thick, but the flange area of the seat inside the bus going through the floor is IMO not up to the task of retaining the seat plus occupants in a violent crash. (read as: the seat belts don't go to the floor- they go to the seat, which is bolted to the floor) In front of and behind each seat, I've mounted two large-flanged harness anchors through the floor. (specifically made for this kind of duty)

For the kids and babies, in each of the seats there is room for (2) self-harnessed kid car seats, which can then are strapped in via lap belt, and anchored at the front/rear (per seat specs) to the anchors down on the ground. The seat itself is further anchored front and rear via the unused middle seat belt that goes around the steep seat frame.

For the adults, I placed a Sparco racing seat on each seat, with a 5-pt harness going to the same sorts of anchors. (and the seats they're on similarly anchored via the unused seat belts)

Notes:

a) booster seats for the kids don't work here because I don't have shoulder belts. Once they outgrow the car seats it's time for the standard seats and harnesses.

b) I also have and historically have had many adults/people/children/whatever roaming around inside untethered, and have a futon specifically for that, but the idea is that if you want to be strapped in, you can be- and unless there are some very good reasons not to be, you should be.
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Old 07-21-2018, 06:52 PM   #18
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Unhappy a 30LB item becomes 900LB in a 30 to 0mph crash,

Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
its completely amazing just how much force is applied to a seatbelt in a crash....
DO NOT SKIMP on securing items.
Suppose a skoolie hits something inelastic of equal weight with an unsecured 30LB item,
In a 30 to 0mph in 1ft crash the deceleration is 30Gs and the force is 900 pounds.
In a 45 to 0mph in 1ft crash the deceleration is 70Gs and the force is 2032 pounds.
In a 55 to 0mph in 1ft crash the deceleration is 100Gs and the force is 3035 pounds.
Above 50Gs internal organs are damaged.
Here is a deceleration calculator
https://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/carcr2.html

Seatbelts are an excellent idea. Automotve seat belt material will give a bit in a crash so hopefully bones are not broken. Racecar seat belt material will NOT give and must be TIGHT. They are not approved by the DOT for good reasons.
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