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January 07, 2014  |   Comments (5)   |   Post a comment

Survey finds 9 danger zone deaths in last school year

By Thomas McMahon

The National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey is compiled each year by the Kansas State Department of Education's School Bus Safety Education Unit.

The National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey is compiled each year by the Kansas State Department of Education's School Bus Safety Education Unit.

Nine students were killed in school bus loading and unloading accidents in the U.S. in the 2012-13 school year, newly released data show.

The findings come from the National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey, which the Kansas State Department of Education’s School Bus Safety Education Unit compiles each year.

Of the nine children killed in the 2012-13 danger zone incidents, six were hit by vehicles passing their school bus, while the other three were struck by their bus. Those numbers are the same as they were in the 2011-12 school year.

Of the three struck-by-bus fatalities in 2012-13, one occurred at the front of the bus, and the other two occurred at the back.

Here are other key details from the 2012-13 findings:

Destination: Six of the fatalities occurred on the way to school; three occurred on the way home.

Age: Five of the children killed were under age 10; four were 10 or older.

Gender: Five boys were killed, and four girls were killed.

Type of area: Eight of the fatalities took place in rural areas; one was in an urban area.

Road conditions: Eight of the incidents occurred with dry road conditions; one occurred with wet road conditions.

State: Four of the fatalities occurred in North Carolina. Two were in Texas. Indiana, Arkansas and Georgia each had one fatality.

The National School Bus Loading and Unloading Survey is a collection of fatality accident records provided by the state agencies responsible for school transportation safety and/or accident records. Onboard fatalities are not included.

The loading/unloading statistics have been collected since the 1970-71 school year. During that year, there were 75 danger zone fatalities, which is the highest total on record. In the 43-year history of the survey, there has been a total of 1,212 fatalities recorded.

The survey is described as an effort to raise awareness of the dangers involved in loading and unloading schoolchildren.

“Fatalities continue to occur at the bus stop, caused by a variety of circumstances and errors on the part of the school bus driver or passing motorist,” the report says. “It points out the continuing need for forceful, advanced instruction to school bus drivers and students, as well as the need to increase our efforts to thoroughly inform the driving public about the requirements of the school bus stop law."

The full 2012-13 report, including descriptions of each loading/unloading fatality incident, is available here.

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Read more about: danger zone, driver training, fatalities, stop arm running/illegal passing

Yes -- key word -- student training. Bus drivers are trained vigorously, but the students are not taught as diligently. The students and parents need to be made aware of the real dangers when it comes to riding a bus, and the risks that exist with the other motorists. Seriously. When it's not taken lightly, then there will be fewer, if not not any, fatalities.

Patrica    |    Jan 28, 2014 06:12 PM

You are absolutely right that training has everything to do with positive results and of course implementing regulations that keep our children safe in being transported in a School Bus. I am a State Certified School Bus Instructor for the State of California and by escorting our students kng - 8th has promoted safety for our children, I would not have it any other way. There are some motor carriers that go above and beyond requiring their drivers to escort their high school students, the law only requires k - 8.

AMELIA FLORES    |    Jan 27, 2014 01:02 PM

The California school bus stop model is the only model that dares address the issue of neglecting children at the bus stops. Most school bus drivers in other states fear California's safe crossing procedure. The primary reason, in my opinion, is these fearful bus drivers, as well as schools, school boards, and industry bureaucrats know full well how unsafe their school bus environments really are, know how lame the schools and school boards are at helping keep kids safe, ignore students bullying fellows and the bus drivers, allow the unruly to continued riding, and ignore children acting out at bus stops. Too many schools and school boards refuse to support their bus drivers authority to remove any child from the bus for refusing to follow directions. Under those circumstances it would be very high risk for the bus driver to leave a school bus with kids on board. I fully support the California bus stop law, would perform the safety procedure with out issue were it allowed in my state. All that can be done in driver, motorist and student training is more than adequate these days. Regardless, deaths will continue at the bus stop until this last hurdle is overcome: Schools and the industry acting responsibly to help their bus drivers keep kids safe at the bus stops. California achieved that end and I would suspect that doing so included parents deeply involved in making it happen but don't know at this point. Would like to know how California achieved what no other state has accomplished, how the crossing procedure became law, and what individuals and groups drove it to a safe conclusion?

jkraemer    |    Jan 11, 2014 09:53 PM

Steven I so agree with you, I now drive a school bus in GA but I was trained in CA over 20 yrs ago I am truly grateful for the training I received it has made me the professional operator I am today I wish more transportation companies would be as diligent in there training as CA. Thanks SDUSDT

MELANIE    |    Jan 10, 2014 12:53 AM

Again and again, students are killed every year crossing the street or roadway to board the bus or go home after riding the bus. I don't see why every state doesn't do what California has been doing forever and having the driver escort the students across the street. If you look at California's record, it is really good. We escort students who are Jr high and younger across the street with the driver getting out of the bus with the student and personally escorting them. I don't understand why every other state thinks it's ok to have these students cross by themselves. It's really sad to see the number of students that could be alive today if only they were taken acroos the street by a bus driver like California does. Thank you California!!!!

Steven    |    Jan 09, 2014 02:48 PM

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