Whether being transported to classes during the school year for a field trip during the summer, hundreds of thousands of children are carried on buses each day across this country. Given the sheer number of kids who ride on them on a daily basis, you’d probably assume that a significant number of bus riders lose their lives each year. This couldn’t be further from the case.
Of all school-age children that ride on buses annually, only between four and six of them lose their lives. This number accounts for a mere 1 percent of all traffic-related fatalities.
In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that students riding on buses to school have a 70 percent higher chance of arriving safely than they do by riding in cars.
As for why buses are safer than vehicles for transporting children to school, researchers say it has to do with how buses are regulated. Everything from how they’ve driven to their design is planned out with the goal of keeping passengers safe. In more recent years, the passing of stop-arm laws has only enhanced those efforts.
When it comes to design, a school bus’ bright yellow color, protruding stop-sign and flashing red lights are all intended to make it highly visible. It’s on-board, cross-view mirrors, specially-designed protective seating and rollover or crash features are intended to also protect bus riders.
Although many argue school buses are unsafe because they lack seat belts, the NHTSA argues that’s not the case. They instead argue that they’re even much safer than one might expect because of the use of an approach called ‘compartmentalization’. With this approach, school bus seats are placed close behind one another. They’re also made to withstand significant force.
In contrast, smaller buses or vans are required to have restraints. This is because, as these vehicles approximate the size of passenger vehicles, NHTSA researchers have found that either lap or shoulder restraints are necessary to protect passengers from harm.
As safe as the NHTSA may deem buses to be, it’s important that they’re used in accordance with manufacturer specifications and the law. Many of that fatalities that occur happen because proper safety measures weren’t taken.
If you suspect that you child’s injury or death was caused by another’s negligence, then a Vista, California, bus accident attorney may be able to help in your case.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Association, “Bus safety,” accessed June 30, 2017