Most children probably don't give much thought to their daily routine of waking up, walking to the neighborhood bus stop, and boarding the big yellow bus for another roundtrip to and from school. However, parents might find themselves a bit uneasy about the safety of this oversized vehicle with its lack of seatbelts and closely spaced seats, wondering if their children aren't perhaps safer riding with them to school.
In today's post, we'll take a closer look at just how safe the school buses you see cruising the streets here in Tennessee actually are.
Are school buses really safe?
Statistics show that school buses are actually incredibly safe. To illustrate, consider that the Transportation Research Board found that while 25 percent of the travel undertaken by students takes place on school buses, less than 4 percent of the injuries sustained by students in vehicle crashes occurs on school buses.
Is riding with a parent to school still a safer bet?
Not necessarily. Consider that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that students are as much as 20 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they board the school bus than catch a ride with a parent.
In addition, the NHTSA determined that teens are roughly 50 times more likely to arrive at school alive if they board the school bus than if they catch a ride with a friend or drive themselves.
Why are school buses so much safer?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the design of school buses plays a vital role in keeping kids safe while boarding and exiting the bus, and in preventing serious personal injuries and wrongful deaths in motor vehicle accidents.
For instance, in addition to the ubiquitous flashing red lights, stop sign arms and bright color, school buses are also equipped with reinforced sides, cross-view mirrors and an overall design that distributes the force of a crash differently than the standard passenger vehicle or light truck.
It's important to remember that even though school buses are safe, they can't protect children from the actions of every reckless driver. As such, it's important for parents to remember that they have options for seeking justice on behalf of their child in the event of a serious bus accident.
Source: American School Bus Council, "Safety first," Accessed Sept. 29, 2014