ARE SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENTS COMMON?
Mothers and fathers were devastated when a school bus in Chattanooga, Tennessee had an accident last November 2016.1 This resulted in the untimely death of 6 very young kids. When a horrible accident like this one happens, you just might wonder how often do these tragedies occur in a day or any given year; especially when tragedies like these can strike affecting the lives of families across every state or even other countries.
LAWS ON SCHOOL BUSES
Only 6 states have passed laws regarding the use of seatbelts on school buses. Those states are New York, New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and California.2 However, this law is not always enforced. Seat belts, boring as they may be to children, have proven to be extremely effective in bus accidents. In 2014, 21,022 people died in car crashes,3 more than half – 54% - did not buckle up.4 Most seat belt laws, however, are curiously directed towards individual drivers, and given the their long-known efficacy, one can only wonder why school bus seat belt laws aren't on the books in Connecticut and every state.
NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION STATISTICS
Reports between 2004 and 2013 hold less than 1% of all motor vehicle accidents that were fatal involved buses of schools.5 In 106 fatalities, almost 50% or half were the drivers of the school buses, 61 were passengers of school buses.6 However, even if the statistics look bleak, children safely arrive at school 50 times more than they do on other modes of transportation.7
WHO USUALLY GETS HURT IN A SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also says that the students are the least endangered in a school bus disaster, should one ever occur. By contrast, the statistics for other transportation modes are:
- Passenger fatalities account to only 8%
- Pedestrian or bicyclist fatalities add up to 21%
- Drivers in other transports, a whopping 71%
A common scenario for school bus accident occurs when Car #1 is stopped behind a school bus; then comes Car #2 behind you driven by a distracted driver. Car #2 then rear-ends Car #1, and then it hits the school bus' rear-end, usually with significant force.8
HOW DO YOU PREVENT SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENTS?
Driver safety is the most essential element to preventing school bus accidents. If drivers obey the rules of the road and keep an eye on a school bus in their vicinity, school bus accident should be reduced. Drivers following a school bus should also always keep a safe distance apart. Moreover, the basic laws regarding the traffic lights shall be obeyed at all times, and drivers should never move when school bus stop sign is being used. Injuries stemming from school bus accidents can be significantly reduced or avoided if and when the legislatures, include transportation here in Connecticut, implement seat belt laws governing the safe transportation of our children to and from school.