Davis Law Group, P.S. says that in the United States, school bus accidents are somewhat of a rarity, and thankfully we don’t hear about children being injured in devastating crashes too often – especially when you consider that some 480,000 school buses carry 25 million kids each day. That’s more than half of America’s schoolchildren. Overall, the data shows us that school buses – the largest form of mass transit in the U.S. – are generally a safe option for transporting children, but the reality is that accidents do happen and children do get hurt as a result.
They begin by explaining that school bus accident statistics can be generally misleading. There are many technicalities involved in the recording process, and these technicalities can potentially impact the reporting process. For example, a school bus transporting children on an out-of-state field trip may not be recorded as a school bus accident.
From 2004 to 2013, 1,214 people were reportedly killed in school transportation-related accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This statistic is partially misleading in the sense that nearly three-fourths (75 percent) of all the deaths were occupants of the other vehicles involved in the crash. That data makes sense – school buses are huge vehicles that can cause a lot of damage.
They say that in fact, only 8 percent of all fatalities that resulted from school bus accidents were occupants in the buses themselves. The remaining percentage of all fatalities – 21 percent – was made up of non-occupants of either vehicle, meaning they were likely pedestrian bystanders or bicyclists.
They published that the NHTSA found that from 2004-13, just 106 people – both children and adults – were killed while riding or driving a school bus. Sixty-one were passengers; 45 were drivers. Those numbers equate to just six passenger fatalities a year. Considering the number of children that ride the bus and the estimated 10 billion miles a year school buses cover, busing is extremely safe.
According to Allen & Allen, safety experts say that riding the bus to and from school is still the safest option. According to the American School Bus Council, students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely on a bus. However, there is an alarming trend supported by data and statistics that drivers routinely pass stopped school buses, and that the consequences of this behavior can be fatal.
In an interview with CNN, Charlie Hood, executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, or NASDPTS, said that children “are most vulnerable when they are pedestrians.”
Case in point: every year, the NASDPTS conducts a one-day count of illegal school bus passing incidents throughout the U.S. In 2018, school bus drivers in 38 states recorded 83,944 incidents during that one-day count, suggesting that as many as 15 million vehicles could be illegally passing school buses and their students each 180-day school year. Knowing when to stop for a bus if you are a driver, and how to approach and leave the bus if you are a passenger is imperative.
Please research this subject extensively. Stats are subject to change on a daily basis. Remember, it is not the odds, but the stakes.