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.