The number of children killed in school bus loading and unloading accidents in the U.S. has fallen to the lowest level since the 2007-08 school year, according to the Kansas State Department of Education's (KSDE) forthcoming national report.
The total of eight danger zone deaths in 2010-11 was a drop of more than a third (38 percent) from the previous school year's total, 13.
In 2010-11, four of the students were struck by their own school bus, and four were struck by a passing vehicle.
Of the students struck by their own bus, three were at the back, and one was at the front. Three of the buses were Type Cs (also known as conventionals); one was a Type D (transit style).
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.
Six of the fatalities in 2010-11 were children under age 10: two were 6, two were 7 and two were 8. The other two students killed were between 10 and 17 years old.
Seven of the eight deaths were male students.
All of the accidents occurred in dry road conditions, with either clear skies (seven of the accidents) or cloudy skies (one).
Five of the accidents were in urban locations, while three were in rural areas. Two were in Georgia, and one each was in Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.
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.”
The 2010-11 report will be posted on the KSDE website, which also includes data from previous years.