Parents in California are always looking for new ways to keep their children safe and to play an active role in their lives. As a result, many parents opt to drop kids off at school themselves, rather than let them take the bus. However, year and year, statistics have shown that school-transportation vehicles have the lowest crash and fatality rates.
According to the NHTSA, there were 324,710 deadly motor vehicle crashes from 2006 to 2015. School-transportation vehicles were involved in only 0.4% of those crashes. It is also well to note that of that 0.4%, only 9% were onboard the school-transportation vehicles. The other fatalities occurred among pedestrians, cyclists and occupants of other vehicles.
While the ride itself is safe, however, children continue to be at risk once they get off the bus. A whopping 61% of school-age pedestrian fatalities were struck by school buses and another 3% by other vehicles used as school buses. Keep in mind, however, that this is all occurring within the 0.4% margin of all fatal accidents.
A 2015 study published on Science Direct also identifies school bush crashes as a rare occurrence. However, it points out that while low, the number of school bus crashes and resulting fatalities is stagnant. In other words, there is some concern about why increased safety features in vehicles have not led to a decline.
Like many of their predecessors, the authors of this study propose that more needs to be done to improve safety for children boarding and exiting the school bus. This is especially important when children are crossing the street. While such an extremely low number is cause for celebration, it should not be used as a reason to become complacent.