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At Sumner County Schools Department of Pupil Transportation, safety is our number one concern. Research by the National Safety Council has shown school buses to be the safest form of transportation available - safer than traveling in airplanes, automobiles or passenger trains.
Here are some facts that may be of interest to you:
- 450,000 yellow school buses provide transportation service daily nationwide.
- 23.5 million elementary and secondary school children ride school buses daily throughout the United States, twice a day.
- That's about 47,000,000 student trips daily -- before adding an estimated 5,000,000 more for activity trips daily
- That means approximately 54% of all K-12 students in the country ride yellow school buses
- This equals about about 10 billion individual student rides, or 20 billion boardings and deboardings, annually.
- America spends an average of $493 per regular ed child for transportation annually.
- America spends an average of $2,460 per special needs child for transportation annually.
- Slightly more than 46,000 school buses were manufactured during the 12 months of the 1998-99 school year.
- 350 pupil transportation delegates are appointed by the chief school officer in each state and meet for a week-long conference once every five years to review and rewrite minimum standards and specifications for safe operation.
- The 14th National Conference on School Transportation is scheduled for 2001.
- Three-point seat belts are required by federal law on all newly manufactured small school buses under 10,000 lbs. nationwide.
- Only two states -- New York and New Jersey -- currently require two-point seat belts on large school buses over 10,000 lbs.
- New Jersey not only requires lap belt installation on new large school buses, students are required to use them.
- In New York, use is only required if the local school district adopts a policy mandating their use. About 25 of the 725 districts in the state have done so.
- Three states -- Florida, Louisiana and California -- enacted laws in the summer of 1999 requiring seat belts or some other form of occupant protection on large school buses. The final decision in these three states awaits completion of a comprehensive study of occupant protection currently underway by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Great Britain requires lap belts on minivans used in youth transport, including school transport.
- Meanwhile, the Economic Commission of Europe has begun to require that coaches and minivans be equipped with occupant restraint systems, but has not mandated their use for school service in any of its 15 member nations.
- The national school bus accident rate is 0.02 per 100 million miles traveled.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 96% of the estimated 8,500 to 12,000 children injured in school bus accidents annually are considered minor (scrapes, bumps, bruises, etc.).
- NHTSA calculated that 4% of the school bus-related injuries to children -- about 350 to 475 annually -- are serious (i.e. broken bones or worse) based on the medical community's widely accepted AIS or Abbreviated Injury Scale.
- Meanwhile, an average of 11 children are fatally injured inside school buses annually.
- About 15 children are fatally injured as pedestrians in the loading and unloading zone around school buses annually
- That's better than a 200% improvement from 75 school bus fatalities in 1975; it is still not good enough.
- Between 1989 and 1996, 9,500 school-age children were killed during school hours while riding in all kinds of motor vehicles.
- About 600 school age children are killed annually, during school hours and on school days only, in automobiles riding to and from school in automobiles.
1999 Report Card on
School Bus Safety in the U.S.
By Dr. Cal LeMon
The 1999 Report Card on School Bus Safety in the U.S. has been provided to clarify and encourage the safest form of ground transportation in the Unites States, the yellow school bus. Data is presented on a state by state basis.
School buses provide 10 billion student rides annually for our greatest national resource, our children. These data are derived from the approximately 55% of America's 24-million children of K-12 age who use the yellow school bus for the school journey. The remainder, approximately 45%, travel by automobile, bicycle, walk, or use public transit.
This Report Card offers information about fatality rates to school-age children. It compares the number of fatalities to children in yellow school buses with the number of fatalities to children in automobiles during the twice daily journey to-and-from-school. Data in the 1999 Report Card is presented for the 1996-97 school year.
What the Report Card shows is that about 600 school-age children are killed annually in non-school bus motor vehicles -- typically the family car with mom at the wheel -- during school hours and during the school week to and from school. By comparison, approximately 15 school age children are killed annually while riding in yellow school buses. "Tragically, about 600 school age children are killed every year in passenger vehicles during regular, weekday school hours."
Every effort was made to accurately represent information for each state. This report is not structured to rate states or pick winners and losers. It was prepared to provide information to parents and educators so they can measure how their state compares with others and, most importantly, encourage funding and policy decisions that will result in more students traveling to school in the safest form of transportation -- the big yellow school bus, which is 60 times safer (according to FARS data enclosed in this report) than riding in a car.
Information for this report comes from several government highway traffic sources.
To proceed, please visit www.stnonline.com and click on "School Bus Safety." Here you will find a map of the United States that will give you additional information for each state.
If you are interested in the pros and cons of seat belt use on school buses, this site also has a comprehensive report on the subject.
© Copyright 1998: STN Media.