When we send our children off to school, we do so with the expectation that they will arrive at school and return home safely. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) collects data on the number of school bus accidents that occur nationwide.
School Bus Accident Statistics
Since 2003, there have been nearly 1,400 school bus accidents that resulted in one or more fatalities. In those crashes, the vast majority of the fatalities were occupants of the passenger vehicle that collided with the bus.
Below is a breakdown that accounts for the total number of fatalities in school bus accident.
- Occupants of other vehicle – 71%
- Non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.) – 21%
- Occupants of the school bus – 8%
Children Killed In School Bus Accidents
According to the same statistics collected by the DOT, 344 children have been killed in school bus accidents since 2003. Surprisingly, very few are killed while riding the bus. The majority of the fatalities occurred as an occupant of another vehicle or as a pedestrian.
Only 55 of the fatalities occurred to children who were on the bus during the accident. Children who were riding in another passenger car accounted for 161 of the deaths. Another 128 were pedestrians or pedalcyclists who were struck by a school bus or another passenger car while boarding or exiting the bus.
School Bus Safety
The most preventable of the child fatalities are the ones that occur to pedestrians. There are laws in place that require motorists to stop behind a bus while it is loading or unloading students. Unfortunately, drivers who are in a hurry or are simply not paying attention do not always heed those traffic safety laws. For that reason, we cannot always rely on other motorists to obey traffic laws in order to protect our children.
While many schools routinely remind students of safe practices for getting on and off the bus, that is not always the case. It is important that parents inform their children of safe loading practices as well.
What To Do If Your Child Was Injured In A School Bus Accident
If your child was injured or killed in a school bus accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about your legal rights. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, there could be one or more other parties that can be held liable. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin for a free case evaluation.