How secure are school buses? Pretty darn secure.
For traveling to and from school, they are the most dependable mode of school transportation when it comes to protecting children. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traveling by school bus only accounts for 1 percent of student fatalities during normal school travel hours.
Fast Facts about School Buses
Source: American School Bus Council
|Estimated No. of Cars Buses Keep Off the Road Every Morning||17.3 million|
|Average Miles Traveled for All Buses/Per Year||5.7 billion miles|
|No. of Students Transported by Each School Bus||54|
|Average Distance from Home to School for Bus Riders||5 miles|
A huge, seat-belt-less vehicle full of kids and no parents may sound like a disaster waiting to happen, but here are the reasons why school buses are so safe.
Not only are the buses a vibrant yellow color that is easily noticeable by other drivers and pedestrians, but the height is above the peak of car impact when it comes to bus passengers. Other than emergency and police vehicles, school buses are also the only transit on the road that have the power to stop traffic.
There may be no seat belts on school buses, but the design of the transport acts almost like an egg carton. The seats consist of a lot of padding with seat backs that are raised for protection, almost like an air bag. Unlike typical vehicles, school buses offer more protection for the smaller, precious cargo.
In addition to the classic school-bus style, other new technologies have been implemented in recent years, like side panels that combat side impacts; new layouts of front windows, mirrors, and driver’s seat for better perspective of the road and students; increased space surrounding emergency exits; and “sleeping child alarms” to let bus drivers know about children that may have fallen asleep en route to school.
All school bus drivers undergo a variety of requirements and training, including random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing, frequent driving record checks, periodic medical exams, and pre-employment checks. Many drivers must have background checks prior to being employed, too. Overall, there’s quite the microscope on school bus drivers, with measures in place to make sure drivers are consistent and safe.
One School Bus Equals 36 Cars
Think of school buses as one big carpool lane. For every bus on the road, that means that 36 cars are off the road, which is good for the environment and for the likelihood of accidents and congestion. In fact, newer buses are becoming “greener” through better engine efficiency and the establishment of hybrid buses that are fueled through alternative methods.
The Bottom Line
Parents and families may feel nervous about sending their children on the bus each and every day, but it’s actually the least dangerous form of school transportation. Plus, it can also be safer for the environment.