There is considerable interest in improving the crash safety of buses, minibuses and coaches despite their comparatively good safety record. Publicity given to accidents involving these vehicles has led to demand for safety measures, notably the installation of seatbelts in coaches and minibuses. This demand has been met to some extent in the UK by the recent requirement for all children, on journeys relating to school or other child activities, to be transported in vehicles fitted with seatbelts. Further UK legislation will require all new buses and coaches, apart from those specifically designed for urban use and standing passengers, to be fully equipped with seatbelts. However, the requirements for seatbelt anchorage strengths in these larger vehicles are less demanding than for cars. An evaluation of samples of seats, seatbelt systems and minibuses, the potential for improving their performance and the appropriateness of current regulations was undertaken. This paper describes: a study of the available UK national accident statistics, an in-depth analysis of the UK minibus accidents held in the TRL database of police files of fatal accidents, the selection of a suitable crash pulse for testing minibus seatbelt systems which represents the real life accident situation, tests of standard minibuses in order to establish the performance of current seatbelt systems, the development and testing of improved minibus seatbelt systems and suggestions for improved test methods for minibus seatbelt systems. (A)

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