An Ohio school bus driver begins her morning route and is attacked by the suspect, who boarded the bus the night before, police say. Hilliard City Schools takes immediate security measures.
Have the nation’s roads gotten safer or less safe over the past few decades?
With the proliferation of mobile devices — and the advent of such dangers as texting while driving — over the past 10 years or so, would you guess that there are more people being killed in motor vehicle crashes than there were 20 or 30 years ago?
When you’re out driving and you see people looking at their cell phones instead of the road, swerving in and out of lanes, and displaying other reckless behavior, it’s easy to get the sense that our roads have become more dangerous than they used to be.
Despite such anecdotal evidence, federal statistics actually show that our nation’s roads are far safer now than they used to be — that is, judging by the numbers of fatalities and injuries in motor vehicle crashes.
That surprising fact is made clear in data released recently by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
According to NHTSA’s latest Fatality Analysis Reporting System data, there were 33,561 highway deaths in 2012. While that was a 3% increase from 2011, NHTSA officials pointed out that highway deaths over the past five years continue to remain at historic lows.
Fatalities in 2011 were at the lowest level since 1949. Even with the slight increase in 2012, the level of fatalities is the same as it was in 1950.
Going back to the late ’60s and early ’70s, there were consistently more than 50,000 highway deaths per year — that’s about 50% higher than the 2012 total, 33,561.
A key factor in comparing fatalities from year to year is the number of miles driven. A chart in NHTSA’s recent report (available at www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811856.pdf) shows the annual fatality rates by 100 million vehicle miles traveled, all the way back to 1963.
In that year, the rate was 5.18 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles. In the half century since then, the highway fatality rate has fairly steadily declined. In 2012, it was down to 1.14 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles.
The injury rate has also been decreasing over the past few decades. In 1988, the rate was 169 people injured per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. In 2012, it was about half of that — 80 people injured per 100 million vehicle miles.
Of course, the fact that highway deaths and injuries are down doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels.
In the pupil transportation business, the problem of motorists illegally passing school buses continues to endanger our students. The latest national stop-arm running survey found 85,279 violations in a single day. This issue calls for enhanced enforcement of stop-arm laws, more public awareness efforts and continued training and vigilance.
While there will always be some degree of danger on our nation’s roads, it’s at least reassuring to know that, overall, highway safety has been improving.
Not everything is worse than it used to be.
A combination of wheelchair and occupant restraints and a headrest and backrest is designed to stabilize passengers in the event of a rear-end collision.
Dashcam footage shows an apparently impatient BMW driver speed up in an attempt to pass a moving school bus, only to end up on top of a concrete barrier.
The Texas school transportation agency’s event will cover such topics as safety innovations, emergency resources, training and education, and communications.
Amid a reported rise in prescription drug misuse and illicit drug abuse in the general workforce, school transportation providers stay vigilant with up-to-date training, education, and wellness efforts.
The Kentucky children are on the sidewalk when the driver of an SUV strikes them while swerving to avoid hitting the bus. Two of the children are in critical condition.
An event at the Governor’s Residence highlights school bus safety issues and recognizes winners of the state’s poster contest and safety competition.
The company receives a score of 100% from Michigan State Police for its fleet of 25 buses that serve Royal Oak School District.
The New York School Bus Contractors Association holds a variety of school bus safety events throughout the state and renews its call for stiffer penalties for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.
The agreement, originally set to run through 2018, will now run through 2021. It covers the alternative-fuel system supplier's 8.8-liter propane and gasoline engines for Navistar's subsidiary, IC Bus.
According to Cincinnati police, a school bus driver is taken to the hospital for injuries to her face after a mother of a child who rides the bus pries open the bus’ doors, shouts at the driver, and attacks her.
This powerful PSA tells the heartbreaking story of 12-year-old Adam Kempf, who was fatally struck by a van while crossing the street to board his school bus in 2012.
During School Bus Safety Week, state troopers are riding on or following school buses to catch motorists who illegally pass them.
The company holds its 6th annual Anti-Bullying Awareness initiative, which runs throughout October, and inducts 15 new members into its Safety Wall of Fame.
Five Texas motorists receive tickets for passing a stop arm and file a class-action lawsuit against Dallas County Schools and two cities, saying they do not remember driving past the stop arms or were not driving the car at the time.