Are School Buses Safer Than Driving Your Kid To School?
William W. Hurst
It’s that wonderful time of year again when children go back to school to further their education for yet another year. As wonderful as it is to know your child is going to be learning for eight hours a day, five days a week, for the next nine months or so, there are some scary things that go along with it, namely school buses are back on the roads. As an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer who has the unfortunate job of advising parents or motorists after school bus accidents occur, I hope that this year there will be less of these catastrophic accidents and that this blog may help create a safer roadway. The key to avoiding school bus accidents is to be alert, but this world isn’t perfect and neither are we. So below we’ve provided some statistics on these types of accidents and a few tips for avoiding them.
School Bus Accidents
The kids have just gone back to school and already a serious accident involving a school bus has occurred. On August 3, 2016 and Indianapolis mother was seriously injured when an IPS bus allegedly ran a stop sign and struck the driver side of her vehicle. Luckily none of the children, nor the bus driver were injured in the accident. Unfortunately these types of accidents happen far too often and injuries to children often occur because there are no seatbelts or airbags on school buses.
There are positives and negatives to school buses, so let’s look at them.
On the positive side the NHTSA tells us the fatality rate for school buses is only 0.2 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) compared to 1.5 fatalities per 100 million VMT for cars. This means school buses are by far the safest way for children to travel to school as students are nearly eight times safer riding in a school bus than with their own parents and guardians in cars. Additionally, school buses keep an estimated 17.3 Million cars off the roads surrounding schools each morning, making it much safer for those walking and riding to school.
The negative side is that over the past 11 years, school buses have annually averaged about 26,000 crashes resulting in 10 deaths – 25 percent were drivers; 75 percent were passengers. The NHTSA has passed regulations in the recent past to make buses safer and they’re striving to make sure there are no fatalities due to buses, but that’s a tall task.
So, as shown above, buses are extremely safe, but what can we do to make them safer?
- Put Seatbelts on them?
- The answer depends on the size of the bus. Large buses are heavier and distribute crash forces differently than passenger cars or trucks. Because of this and the “compartmentalization” approach seatbelts would be largely ineffective and extremely inefficient in preventing serious injuries to passengers. Small busses are now required to have seatbelts. For more information visit “Seat Belts on School Buses”
- Keep a look out for buses and children who may have just gotten off them or who are waiting to get on them.
- Do not try to pass a bus, while we understand that it can be frustrating being stuck behind a bus it’s not worth causing an accident that might injure children.
- Make sure you’ve taught your child to be respectful of the bus driver. Drivers are often distracted by misbehaving children. The last thing any parent wants to see is their child injured, don’t let your child’s actions be what cause such a horrific accident.
Call and Experienced Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer
If your family member or friend has been seriously injured or killed in an accidents contact the Attorneys at the Indianapolis Law Office of William W. Hurst, LLC or call us toll free at (800) 636-0808 for a free consultation.