Safety

NHTSA Report Puts School Bus Fatality Data in Perspective

Thomas McMahon
Posted on August 17, 2017
A NHTSA report shows that most child fatalities in school-transportation-related crashes take place outside of the bus or in other vehicles. Photo courtesy NHTSA
A NHTSA report shows that most child fatalities in school-transportation-related crashes take place outside of the bus or in other vehicles. Photo courtesy NHTSA

An average of 30 school-age children are killed each year in school-transportation-related crashes — most of them outside of the bus or in other vehicles — according to newly updated federal data.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released an August 2017 edition of its School-Transportation-Related Crashes report, covering the 10-year period from 2006 to 2015. The report shows school bus fatalities accounting for a fraction of a percent of overall vehicle fatalities.

According to NHTSA, from 2006 to 2015, there were 324,710 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, 1,172 (0.4%) were classified as being related to school transportation.

Even within the school-transportation-related fatalities, less than a quarter of those killed are children. In the 2006 to 2015 time span, NHTSA’s data show that 1,313 people of all ages were killed in crashes related to school transportation, with 301 of them (23%) being school-age children (age 18 or younger).

The report also shows that most of the child fatalities take place outside of school buses or in other vehicles. Of the 301 school-age children killed in school-transportation-related crashes from 2006 to 2015:

• 54 (18%) were occupants of school transportation vehicles.
• 137 (46%) were occupants of other vehicles.
• 102 (34%) were pedestrians.
• Eight (3%) were cyclists.

According to NHTSA’s data, of the school-age pedestrians killed in school-transportation-related crashes from 2006 to 2015:

• 61% were struck by school buses.
• 3% were struck by vehicles functioning as school buses.
• 36% were struck by other vehicles involved in the crashes.

NHTSA defines a school-transportation-related crash as one that involves, either directly or indirectly, a school bus body vehicle or a non-school bus functioning as a school bus, transporting children to or from school or school-related activities.

The August 2017 edition of School-Transportation-Related Crashes is available here.

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
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