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.