School Bus Accident Study

The school bus accident study released today by Columbus Children’s Research Institute that will be published in the journal, Pediatrics, found that school bus-related accidents send 17,000 children to the emergency room each year.

Maryland is no stranger to school bus accidents. Anne Arundel County schools had three school bus accidents in a two week span last fall. But, thankfully, very few of these bus accidents lead to life threatening injuries. One-third of the injuries were minor strains and sprains, and 97% of children injured in school bus accidents were treated and released from the hospital immediately.

There is no question that school buses are a relatively safe means of transportation. Here’s an incredible statistic: a child is 13 times safer in a school bus than in their parent’s vehicle and 44 times safer than traveling with a teenage driver.

Still, the co-author of this study says the results indicate a need for seat belts on school buses. It is hard to disagree. Last year a Wicomico County bus driver in Salisbury was charged with failure to yield the right of way while making a left turn in an accident that tragically killed a school bus aid. I do not know whether a seat belt would have saved this woman’s life. But you have to think that seat belts on buses would not only save at least some lives but also lead to decreasing the 170,000 injuries reported in school bus accidents each year.

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  • Cindy Hardin

    Some cases seat belts may help, but in Charles County we have kids standing on the buses since there is not enough seats for them to sit in. You would think with all of the tragic accidents involving school buses that they would make sure all kids are safely in seats. But this has been brought to the National Transportation and Safety Board and also the Charles County School Board but yet nothing has been done to help this situation out. I was told that there is no way for them to count the amount of children riding the buses and that sometimes it is okay for the children to ride standing up on a bus for the first few weeks. But it is almost 3 months into the school year and again the kids are still forced to stand all the way to school and home. When the speed limit is 50 mph on the road that the bus has to travel, these children are missles waiting to sail. If seatbelts were mandatory then these bus drivers would have to make sure no one was standing at all.

  • Cindy

    Since the beginning of the 06 school year in Charles County there has been 6 school bus accidents. I am amazed that there has been no fatalities, yet.

    Sept. 1 @ 12:32 29 middle school kids on bus. A car crossed the center line and struck bus head on. One child was transported by ambulance the rest were taken to the hospital by another bus to be checked out.

    Sept. 6 @ 2:35 24 high school kids on bus. Bus sideswipped 2 cars while trying to merge onto a turning lane. No injuries.

    Sept. 8 @ 1:48 School bus driver hit a ditch and was knocked out of her seat. Bus continued to travel and struck a ambulance. No kids on bus, she was on her way to pick them up from school.

    Sept. 28 @ 9:11 Commuter bus crossed the yellow line and the mirror of the commuter bus struck the mirrors on the school bus. 21 Elementary kids on bus, no injuries.

    Sept. 28 @ 3:32 30 Members of a high school football team Mac truck mirrors hit the mirrors on the school bus. No injuries
    Oct. 10 @ 2:30 20 High school kids on bus. Bus was turning left and a car in the adjancent lane also turning left struck the front left side of the bus. 1 child transported to hospital by ambulance.

    On one day there was approx. 72 children on the bus my daughter rides on. I refused to let her on the bus and drove her myself. Once at school I counted the children getting off of the bus but stopped at 72. So not sure if there were more on the bus.

    Board of Ed was notified and also the school. The same afternoon I was at the school and was informed it was all taken care of when the bus started to leave there were kids still standing on the bus as it pulled out of the parking lot. I brought this to the attention of the Administrators who were standing outside along with a gentleman from the board and the answer I got was that they were working on the situation. Sine the school board cannot find a solution for the bus being overcrowded, I am forced to drive my child to school everyday for the rest of the year. On half days where all the children ride the bus home I have to go and transport my daughter back home or she will be forced to stand on the bus for the 7.6 mile ride on a roadway that has a 50 mph speed limit. I have followed buses down the road and they exceed the speed limit all of the time. The school administrators along with the Board of Education know this problem still exists but they do not seem to be doing anything about it. They fail to see my point that these children standing will become missles if this bus is in an accident. It is for this reason and my love for my child that I have to provide her with the transportation to school.I have tried to appeal to all my resources but no one seems to be doing anything about this problem. Over crowding on buses is a big thing in Charles County. They have 3 kids in a two child seat, and 4 kids in a three child seat, plus some kids still standing. If any of these buses are in a serious accident these children will lose their lifes. But for some reason no one seems to see this problem but myself and my child. The safety of these chilren aboard the buses are the biggest issue. I was told by the National Transportation and Safety Board that one child per row of seats are allowed to stand. IF there was a law that school buses had to have seatbelts then standing on a bus would not be an issue right now.I fear for the safety of the other kids on the buses that are still standing. I personally think that adding seatbelts to these buses are the only way to provide the safeguards that these children need when on the buses.

  • In addition to school bus accidents and incidents, there are attacks on transit bus drivers almost daily within the U.S. and in Canada a driver was killed…not unlike traveling on Greyhound. So I came up with a driver security surround for Greyhound and it works great. Now the transit agencies need to embrace it too! Taking the bus is generally very safe, but it just takes one wacko….

  • Katie

    I am A school Bus driver im Southern Maryland I will not say what county, but there was a comment that for Charles county to say that there is no way for them to tell how many children are on the bus. That is not True in other counties such as the one I work in we do head counts twice a year once in september and then again in january after winter break as some children more during the year, this is so school bus routes can be ajusted. Also I understand where everyone is comming from with the seat belt issue but also let me just say this everyone knows there child and most children middle school and up are not going to wear the seat belt first of all, Second most children that are injured in a school bus accident are not following the school bus saftey rules like standing up and not facing foward for example. Also alot of parents already complain that there child is on the bus to long as it is but your children will be on the bus twice as long with seat belts because everytime the bus stops to pick up a child the driver would have to get up and go buckle up the student unless we were to get aids on every bus which is not in the budget so what should we do as parents.Next one parent said that there were 72 children on her childs bus that is not uncommon on a bus that many children riding For example my bus is a 66 passenger That is 3 to a seat in 20 seats and 2 to a seat on the other 3 Which is fine in elementary school but i do feel that the older they get the more room they need, the children are bigger in middle and high school and they carry more books. So i do feel that there is not enough room for that manny kids in one seat then. Also I am not going to say that ome accidents are not the drivers fault but do you know how many times buses get real ended and people dont hear about it because it is not a major accident. I mean how close do you really need to ride to the back of our buses you would noy want someone to do that if your child was in the bus so dont do it when someone elses child is on there. What if someone cuts the bus off and that driver has to hit the brakes (for my buses as an example) you would end up under it and you would get hurt. And thats anouther thing do you really have to get in front of the bus and cut us off everyone thinks that a school bus goes so slow but thats not true we are running the speed limit just like everyone else if you think we can stop that bus like you do your car you are mistaken we cant that would be like a bus pulling in front of a semi you just don’t do it. Also We are all human and make mistakes think about when you drive down the road with your own children and you look back Because they are doing somthing they should not be doing well bus drivers are not just dealing with your one child we are dealing with 60 or more. Could you do it? Probably not which is one reason we dont have enough bus drivers around that and we dont get paid enough we are one of the most under paid professions around and some of us work more than 40 hours a week everyone thinks that we are off when school is out but some of us work nights and weekends to doing feild trips. And you all thought it was hard taking your children back and forth try it with 60 somtime…..

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