Each school year, children travel to and from school on district buses, but few parents and caregivers ever imagine that the bus their children ride on may experience a crash. The National Safety Council reports that over the last decade, more than 30% of those injured in bus crashes were child passengers, who also accounted for about 5% of fatalities in these incidents.
Examining the risk factors and the commonalities of these crashes can help parents and caregivers understand whether their children remain safe in these vehicles during school transport.
School bus risk factors
While riding to school in a bus is statistically safer than walking or biking, several risks still remain for small children who get to school this way. The greatest risk is that most school buses lack any kind of safety restraints, such as lap and shoulder seatbelts that might otherwise protect them in an accident. If another vehicle strikes the bus, the risk of injury or even ejection is overall greater than it would be when riding in a car or other vehicle with safety restraints in place.
Common factors in school bus crashes
While crashes and incidents of injuries are on the decline, there are several common factors for these wrecks. Surprisingly, most crashes took place on days when the weather was clear, which indicates that rain, snow and fog are not common factors in school bus crashes.
Distracted drivers account for several crashes across the nation, and this includes drivers of other vehicles that take their eyes off the road and strike school buses as a result.
Improvement to school bus safety features in the future may reduce incidents of injuries and death for their passengers.