Thirteen children in the U.S. were killed in school bus loading and unloading accidents in the 2009-10 school year, according to the Kansas State Department of Education’s (KSDE) national report.
The latest total is a decrease of nearly a fourth (23.5 percent) from that of the previous school year, 2008-09, in which there were 17 danger zone fatalities. That followed the lowest total on record: five fatalities in 2007-08.
The loading/unloading report is compiled annually by KSDE’s School Bus Safety Education Unit. It 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 newly released 2009-10 edition of the report shows that eight of the children killed were struck by their own school bus, while the other five were struck by a vehicle passing their bus.
Of the children hit by their bus, six were killed at the front, and two were killed at the back (one of them was first struck by the front bumper and then run over and killed by the rear wheels). Seven of the buses in those incidents were Type Cs; the other was a Type D.
Five of the 13 total fatalities in 2009-10 occurred in Georgia.
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.
The report is described as an effort to alert individuals and organizations 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.”