PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA – According to an article published by www.stanfordchildrens.org, approximately 23.5 million elementary and secondary school children ride to and from school in school buses each year, with 17,000 of these children receiving treatment in emergency rooms following accidents.
School buses represent the country’s most extensive public transportation system. In addition to transporting children to and from school, school buses also carry students participating in extracurricular activities, such as high school sports or field trips. As such, accidents are bound to happen each year.
Unlike passenger vehicles, school buses do not have seatbelts, and while school buses are generally thought to be safe vehicles, the absence of seatbelts may contribute to injuries resulting from school bus accidents. Children can suffer school bus accident injuries in a variety of ways which include, but may not be limited to, the following:
- From a collision between the school bus and one or more vehicles;
- From getting on and off the bus (i.e., when crossing the street children are at risk of being struck by oncoming cars); and
- From standing at a bus stop.
According to a 2006 report released by the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice (CIPP), an organization based in Columbus, Ohio, more than forty percent (40%) of school bus injuries are caused by vehicular accidents. However, given the safe design of school buses, many injuries are relatively minor, including, among others, scrapes, bruises, sprains, and strains, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The CIPP report also indicates that approximately twenty-four percent (24%) of school bus injuries happen when students are getting on and off the bus. When vehicular collisions involve school buses, an average of seven (7) school-aged children are killed each year. On the other hand, when school bus injuries happen from students getting on and off the bus, an average of nineteen (19) school-aged children are killed each year.
Overall, the statistics relating to school bus accidents and injuries reveal that in most cases, injuries are minor, but more can be done to protect the safety of school bus passengers. Both passengers and other drivers must be familiar with all laws relating to school buses and being mindful of children getting on and off a school bus.
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