According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, despite the fact that America’s school bus transportation system is one of the safest methods of public transportation in the country, approximately 17,000 American children end up being taken to emergency rooms each year as a result of bus accidents.
School buses transport over 23 million children to and from elementary and secondary schools every year. When a school bus is involved in an accident it automatically sends a chill down the spines of all who become aware of it because the cargo that is being carried by the vehicles is so precious.
School Bus Accident Statistics
According to a report from the University of Rochester Medical Center, over forty percent of school bus injuries are caused by accidents with other vehicles. In most cases these injuries are minor. This is due in large part to the size and design of the buses themselves. Another 24% of injuries take place when students are embarking or disembarking from the bus.
Despite the statistics cited above regarding injuries, the numbers tend to switch when discussing fatalities. Approximately seven children are killed each year while riding on a school bus, but 19 are killed while embarking and disembarking. The majority of those who are killed in accidents while getting on and off the bus are between five and seven years of age.
School Bus Safety
Children are taught a number of important lessons that are designed to keep them from being harmed in these types of accidents. They are told to take ten giant steps away from the bus before heading off in every direction, never to cross behind the bus, and to always use the handrail when getting on and off. They are also taught never to move until the school bus lights turn from red to yellow.
Though school buses are equipped with special safety arms that force children to stay away from the front of the bus, often a child running for a bus will forget that the driver is unable to see them. Unfortunately, there are also tragedies that take place when other drivers do not pay heed to the bus’ flashing lights.
Though many people feel that adding safety belts to school buses would cut down on injuries, experts have indicated that most large school buses have high, wide, thick seats that create compartments that absorb the force of a crash and provide better protection than a seat belt would.