Perfect for working parents and families that live far from their children’s schools, school buses are a convenient and popular means of transportation for many students. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 450,000 public school buses travel about 4.3 billion miles to transport 23.5 million children to and from school and school-related activities.
Whether you’re trying to decide if your kids should ride the school bus or this is your child’s first year riding the bus and you’re worried about his or her safety, learning more about school bus safety can ease your mind and help you make the right decision for you and your child.
Keep in mind that no mode of transportation, including a school bus, is 100% safe. The NHTSA reports that an average of 19 school-age children, including school bus occupants and pedestrians, die in school bus-related traffic crashes each year.
However, school buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children to and from school and are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in both avoiding crashes and preventing injuries, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the American School Bus Council (ASBC). In fact, the NHTSA reports that of the annual average number of student fatalities that occurred during normal school travel hours between 2001 and 2008, only 1 percent were traveling by bus while 58 percent were traveling by a teen driver and 23 percent by an adult driver.
School buses are well-maintained, are painted a bright color for visibility, and are equipped with flashing red lights, stop sign arms, reinforced sides, and cross-view mirrors for optimal safety. They are operated by screened and well-trained drivers who are required to receive student behavior management, security, and medical training. Bus drivers also participate in frequent drug and alcohol testing.
In addition to being safe, school buses offer environmental and financial benefits. According to the ASBC, school buses keep an annual 17.3 million cars off roads surrounding schools each morning, which means safer surroundings for children, particularly those who walk to school. School buses also save you time and gas money. Nationwide, school buses save 2.3 billion gallons of fuel, 6 billion dollars, and 44.6 billion pounds of carbon dioxide.
To learn more about school bus safety and the benefits of using school buses, visit www.schoolbusfacts.com.