An Innovative Design to Retrofit Seatbelts in Motorcoaches

The State Department strongly states that road crashes are the single greatest cause of death of healthy Americans traveling abroad. With road accidents totaling 1.3 million deaths and 50 million injuries annually, safety is the main concern of any traveler. Bus travel is cost effective, but not entirely safe. In the event of a side-impact or rollover, the only recommended lifesaving feature is a three-point restraint system. A new ruling requires the installation of three-point seat belts on all new motorcoaches in the United States. However, seat belts are not required on motorcoaches already in operation. Since the usable life of a motorcoach is about twenty years, nearly 30,000 motorcoaches in use today do not have seatbelts. Concerns remain in the industry about the level of technical expertise required of bus owners to retrofit seat belts to meet federal safety standards, and about the prohibitive cost to retrofit a motorcoach with seat belts. Furthermore, the numerous seat designs, layout configurations, and structural conditions all vary widely. To address the situation, researchers at UMass - Amherst in partnership with Sara's Wish Foundation recently invented an affordable design for the retrofit of seat belts that can be adapted to a wide variety of seat designs and structural conditions. Salient features include customized structural support, seamless transition to various motorcoach seat configurations, and a design that does not require complete replacement of all the seats in a motorcoach. The continuation of this research and development work is now proposed. The approach includes a technical strategy for testing and validation of a wide variety of conditions and scenarios. The goal is to provide bus owners with the technical prescription needed to meet all federal requirements to retrofit seat belts affordably and effectively in most all circumstances.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Contract to a Performing Organization has not yet been awarded.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $248068.00
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Start Date: 20131001
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20180930
  • Source Data: RiP Project 39337

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01557843
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: New England University Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC31, UMAR25-29
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Mar 26 2015 1:01AM