A new research study by The Center for National Truck and Bus Statistics at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) of fatal bus accidents across the country found that school bus drivers have the best safety record of all bus drivers but there are more deaths linked to school bus accidents. This may be due in part to the fact that there are more school buses on the road than other types of buses. Researchers compared charter buses, school buses, transit buses, intercity buses and other buses as part of their study.
School buses accounted for more than 39% of the total number of buses. According to researchers, the number of fatal school bus accidents rose 7.5% between 2007 and 2008. About 40% of all fatal bus accidents involved school buses. As well, researchers found that about half of all fatal bus accidents took place in two time periods – between 2:00-4:59pm and between 6:00-8:59pm – as these were the hours in which school buses were most busy.
Transit buses across the country were involved in 86 fatal accidents in the time frame of the study. Intercity buses were a factor in nine fatal bus accidents and charter buses were involved in 27 fatal bus accidents in the same time period. About 41 “other” buses were involved in accidents during this time period and 10 “unknown” types of buses were involved in fatal crashes during this same time.
According to researchers and the Center for National Truck and Bus Statistics at (UMTRI), a large part of the reason why school bus accident rates are so high is simply because there are more school buses on the nation’s roads. In 2009, there were 480,000 school buses on the roads and these school buses made 10 billion trips, for example, while transit buses made over 5.4 million passenger trips. As well, researchers at the UMTRI found that in half of fatal school bus accidents, the bus drivers were not at fault. In the study, 25 of the fatal school bus accidents occurred when a vehicle struck the school bus head-on. About 11 of the accidents occurred when a vehicle rear-ended the school bus and in nine of the accidents a vehicle swiped the school bus.
One unfortunate statistic is that fatal Florida bus accidents involving school buses were most common. Of all the states, Florida had the most such accidents, with 14 occurring in the state. Georgia, New York, California, Texas, Illinois, and Ohio had between six and nine fatal school bus accidents. Other states had less than five fatal school bus accidents the same year.
The NHTSA FARS shows that for the 2007-2008 school year, 21 fatal pedestrian accidents and seven fatal bicycle accidents occurred due to school bus collisions. However, the study by UMTRI researchers found that school bus drivers were safer, ob average, than other bus drivers. 91 of the 120 school bus drivers involved in fatal bus accidents had no previous accidents while 15 of the drivers had only one prior accidents. According to researchers, this presents the best pre-accident record of all bus drivers.
If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, contact the Flaxman Law Group. The Flaxman Law Group is proud to have helped thousands of personal injury victims across South Florida. Our conveniently located offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood are always available for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call today to arrange your free initial consultation.