[IMAGE]Premier--1.jpg[/IMAGE]American Seating, in partnership with SafeGuard, introduced the new “Premier” motorcoach seat at the UMA Expo in Orlando in January.
Premier features a 3-point seat belt and SmartFrame technology, which protects both belted and unbelted passengers while providing improved safety for large adults to small children.
“We took a fresh approach trying to understand the problem first. In other words, we asked the question how motorcoach passengers were being injured and killed in an accident,” said James Johnson, director of sales for SafeGuard, a division of IMMI. “Once we understood the current level of protection, we set out on a path to scientifically improve protection for the entire passenger family in motorcoaches. In other words, we’re looking at potentially unrestrained passengers, as well as children in infant carriers, all the way up to large adults.”
The Premier features a dual-frame, – dubbed SmartFrame – which provides full compartmentalization protection in frontal crashes by enabling the inner structure with its lap-shoulder belt to absorb the crashes energy for belted passengers, while the outer seatback structure remains vertical to cushion unbelted passengers behind.
“The unbelted crashes into the seat, the seat bends forward and absorbs energy just like compartmentalization should do,” says Johnson. “So, the integrity of the compartments maintains their integrity.”
The new seat is capable of meeting FMVSS 208, 209, 210, 213, 222 and 225 federal regulations, and a slide mechanism on shoulder belt allows small children weighing more then 40 pounds to use the seat and have full protection.
“We know this much: 56 percent of passenger fatalities in motorcoaches involve rejection, and with a good lap and shoulder belt fatalities are reduced by 45 percent,” said Johnson.
The partnership between American Seating and IMMI brings more then 100 years of collective experience to the table, with American Seating offering 70 years of transportation seating experience and IMMI boasting more than 30 years of safety development experience. SafeGuard conducted more than 200 sled tests, 20 school bus rollover tests and thousands of components tests to assure performance and durability.
The seats are currently available on Prevost’s X3-45 coaches, with more customers unable to identified due to confidentiality agreements, according to Johnson, who adds that the seat is in response to customer requests and NTSB’s “Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements for 2008.” So far, Johnson says reaction has been great.
“We’ve introduced the product, the first shipments left the assembly line this month and the first coaches will leave next month. This systems approach to safety seems to resonate with operators.”