TOPEKA, Kan. — Nine schoolchildren in the U.S. were killed in the loading and unloading zone during the 2003-04 school year, a decrease of 25 percent compared to the previous year.
Over the past decade, an average of 15.7 children were killed each year in danger-zone accidents. The nine deaths reported during the 2003-04 school year match the 10-year low, in 2000-01. The highest number of deaths in the past decade were reported in 1995-96, when 25 children were killed in the danger zone.
The Kansas State Department of Education’s School Bus Safety Education Unit reported that three children were killed by their own bus while passing motorists killed the remaining six. The previous year saw six children killed by their own bus and three killed by passing motorists.
The following descriptions summarize the details of the fatal incidents reported for 2003-04.
A 5-year-old girl who had exited the bus was struck and killed by the right dual wheels. The driver reportedly was distracted by children on the bus.
A 5-year-old girl was struck and killed by the right side wheels of the bus after she returned to pick up papers she had dropped.
A 5-year-old girl was killed when a tractor-trailer rear-ended the bus while she was boarding it.
A 5-year-old boy was killed after he slipped on ice after exiting the bus and slid under the right rear dual wheels, which ran over him.
A 6-year-old girl was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle as she crossed the road to board the bus. The driver had activated the eight-way light system before she began to cross.
An 8-year-old girl was struck and killed by a teenaged driver who was traveling too fast. The driver swerved to the right of the bus to avoid hitting it and instead struck the girl as she was exiting the bus.
A 9-year-old girl was struck and killed by a passing motorist while she was attempting to cross the road to her bus stop. The bus driver had not reached the pick-up point and had activated only the yellow warning lights.
A 12-year-old girl was killed when a motorist behind the bus failed to stop and swerved into the yard to the right of the bus, striking the girl.
A boy (unknown age) was struck and killed by the side-view mirrors of a passing city-owned vehicle.