Every year in the United States, more than 25 million students are transported over 4 billion miles to and from school via buses. Although fatalities and crashes are rare, they sometimes still occur. With that in mind, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recommended school buses be equipped with shoulder and lap seat belts to help protect students in the event of a crash.
In general, most school buses do not have passenger seat belts. Currently, only six states have laws requiring seat belts for passengers on school buses. Between 2005 and 2014, 61 passengers on school buses were killed in school bus crashes. Only four were wearing a seat belt. According to the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, Pennsylvania and Florida were shown to have the most school bus fatalities within that time period.
In the case of older school buses, some do have the traditional lap seat belts. While those that do provide some protection in the event of a crash, they are not deemed to be as effective as the combination lap and shoulder variety, commonly known as three point seat belts.
Although fatalities from school bus crashes are rare, injuries on school buses are more common. In 2006, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a study which calculated that roughly 17,000 students are injured annually from riding school buses, with only 42-percent of those injuries coming from crashes.
Statistics also show that school bus fatalities are extremely rare. That being said, only 0.01 fatalities take place for every 100 million school bus miles driven. This stands in comparison to 0.7 fatalities for every 100 million miles students are driven to and from school in passenger vehicles. The numbers further reveal that the majority of students killed in passenger vehicles were in cars driven by teenage drivers.
If you or someone you know has been either injured or killed while riding in a school bus, a Houston, Texas, bus accident attorney can provide guidance.
Source: Governing.com, “Despite lack of seat belts, school bus fatalities are rare,” Mike Maciag, accessed March 08, 2017