On the road

27th September 1996 at 01:00
The MMUDEK floor This was designed at Manchester Metropolitan University and subjected to EEC tests witnessed by the Department of Transport. It is built and installed by Westfield Cars of Kingswinford. It is a patented flooring system which - together with Westfield's own seats - enables tested three-point lap and diagonal belts to be fitted to a minibus not originally designed to take them. Buckinghamshire County Council, for example, has just had 46 LDV minibuses converted at Westfield. The conversion, including Westfield's own seats, costs Pounds 3,450.

Reversing Rearward visibility is not as good as in a car. There are three accessories that can help: * a reversing bleeper. If your minibus did not come with one, a local dealer will fit it. For an LDV minibus, for example, the cost is about Pounds 50.

u wide-angle lens stuck to the rear window. Again, many buses now come with these, but you can buy one from a shop such as Halfords for Pounds 10.99.

u even more effective is a small wide-angle video camera at the back with a monitor on the dashboard. With one of these you can see right down to the back step. A typical installation is Rearview from Tecsec which costs Pounds 695 fitted.

Where to go for advice Lots of information is forthcoming from BUSK, which has gathered a wealth of knowledge about minibus and coach safety issues. The group also helps schools with its Adopt-a-Seat scheme - which enlists local firms in sponsorshop when a school wants to fit belts to its minibus. Enquiries about membership from BUSK, Usk, Gwent NP5 1SP. Tel: 01291 672488 (information line 01291 671040).

Advice on seatbelt testing, safety and its own installation system from Dr George Read, STATUS (Specialist Transport Advisory and Testing Utility Society) Department of Mechanical Engineering, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD. Tel 0161 236 8040.

Westfield Cars, Unit 1, Gibbons Industrial Park, Dudley Road, Kingswinford, West Midlands DY6 8XF. Tel: 01384 400077.

Tecsec, 7 Pavilion Industrial Estate, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool, Torfaen NP4 6NF. Tel: 01495 752882.

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