Parents are concerned about the safety of their children in every environment imaginable. One environment that has been historically out of their control, however, is school - and all of its ancillary components. From playground bullying to school bus accidents, parents have worried about the health and well-being of their children.
With all of the technology advancements in vehicles it is a wonder that school transportation is virtually unchanged. A school bus, largely, is the same vehicle that transported children 10, 20, 30 years ago. It is a huge metal box with two long columns of minimally padded seating. An occupant of nearly any type of passenger car will be surrounded by airbags, have on a seatbelt and will be protected by a high-tech engine and electronics system.
With all of this concern, however, are buses really as unsafe as we all think they are?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released data that might shock many parents. According to the NHTSA, school buses statistically remain the safest method of transporting children to and from school. In fact, the data suggests that traveling by school bus is seven times safer than traveling by car or truck.
It all boils down to number. On average, more than 30,000 people are killed in vehicle crashes every year. In contrast, an average of six school-age children die as passengers in school buses annually. While the goal is to get these numbers as close to zero as possible, it is enlightening to see the statistics compared.
But What About Seat Belts?
One important consideration remains centered around the lack of seat belts on school buses. The main reason that seat belts are not required as a safety measure is due to the fact that buses react much differently in an accident than a car or SUV. Additionally, the smaller compartments - space from one seat back to the next - can be an effective safety measure in the event of a frontal crash.
Worrying about your child's safety is natural. If you have concerns about your school district's transportation systems, do not hesitate to voice them to the appropriate governmental bodies. If the unthinkable does happen and your child is injured, schedule a confidential consultation with an attorney who can provide the legal guidance you need.