As far as roadway transportation goes, school buses are among the safest vehicles out there.
Still, there continues to be concern regarding school bus crashes and related injuries and fatalities, and federal officials are arguing more could be done to prevent harm to students. It’s an important, ongoing discussion that comes just ahead of the 2015-2016 school year.
On the heels of a comprehensive report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration detailing school transportation crashes, injuries and deaths, the agency recently hosted a School Bus Occupant Protection conference that debated the merits of installing seat belts in school buses.
Central to this discussion was a 2014 report released by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, which opined that passenger lap and shoulder belts improve safety on school buses and the costs to equip school buses with them are not unreasonable.
In addition to preventing injury in the event of a bus crash, they may actually prevent crashes in the first place, the organization pointed out, noting that children are wearing seat belts are less likely to create additional distractions for the driver.
The latest NHTSA report released on school bus crashes that analyzed 10 years of data, from 2004 through 2013. Some of the key points of that report include that there were:
- 1,214 fatal school transportation-related crashes during that time frame
- 1,344 people were killed in those crashes
- 134 people on average die every year in school bus crashes
- 8 percent of fatalities were occupants of the bus
- 21 percent of fatalities were non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.)
- 71 percent of those who died were in other vehicles
- 116 school-age pedestrians were killed in school bus crashes during that time
- 62 percent of those were struck by the school bus
Most of these fatalities occurred between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., which is when there is the most school bus activity.
Although there is no state-by-state breakdown in the report, we do know South Carolina is no stranger to tragedy of this kind.
Earlier this year in Aiken County, a preschool student was killed when the bus he was on collided with a tractor-trailer. It was confirmed in this case the school bus did have seat belts and the child was buckled up at the time of the crash. The accident happened around 7 a.m. when the bus reportedly crossed the center lane and struck the tractor-trailer head-on. An aide who was aboard the bus denied the driver was engaging with her phone at the time of the crash, though it’s still not clear why she crossed the center line.
If your child is injured as a result of a South Carolina school bus accident, contact our offices today to learn more about how we can help.
Contact our Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
School Transportation-Related Crashes, June 2015, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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