Now that schools are back in session, school buses loaded with kids of all ages are traveling on roads across the country. More than half of all school age children take the school bus to and from school each day. Throughout the country, school buses transport approximately 25 million children each day in the United States. It’s important to keep a lookout for school buses in your neighborhood to avoid traffic accidents and injuries.
Most people assume that school buses are a safe mode of transportation for children, but school bus accidents happen more often than you may think. According to accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 140 people die in school bus-related accidents every year. Records show that 75 percent of deaths occur to people riding in passenger vehicles that collide with the school bus. Nearby pedestrians and people near bus accidents account for 21 percent of deaths, and children on the school bus account for nearly 10 percent of deaths.
Unfortunately, in most states seat belts on school buses are not required by law. Many school buses are not equipped with any type of seat belt or safety device to protect children in a crash, so school bus injuries are often severe when accidents happen. Most school buses have thick padded seats and high backs for comfort, but offer little protection against injuries in a crash. If a collision with another vehicle occurs or the school bus rolls over in a crash, children are usually thrown out of their seats. They may hit the floor, the back of other seats, even the ceiling in a rollover, sustaining serious injuries such as broken bones, punctured organs, and head trauma. It’s common for an accident lawyer in Oregon to see severe injuries and fatalities associated with school bus crashes.
According to NHTSA records, the most common causes of school bus accidents include inexperienced bus drivers, distracted drivers, impaired drivers who use alcohol and/or drugs, excess speed, and hazardous road conditions. Records also show that the majority of school bus accidents are caused by other motorists who ignore the laws when approaching or passing a school bus.