Bus Accidents are Rare but Serious
When we see buses slowly crawling along city streets or slowly driving through suburban neighborhoods to pick up children, it’s hard to imagine such vehicles could do much damage in an accident. They are, almost to the point of annoyance for many people, chronically slow moving.
For many people, this can feel like a negative. Anyone stuck behind a bus in the city knows the exasperation with the slow-starting, slow-moving, often stopping city bus.
But for all the tortoise pace of the average bus, accidents do happen, and those accidents are often quite serious.
They’re serious for the obvious reason. Buses are huge. When they run into something, they do a lot of damage. While this is rare because of how they are hampered in their action (constantly needing to pick up people and let them off), when they do hit something, it likely leads to some very unfortunate consequences.
What is particularly upsetting about these unfortunate consequences, when they do occur, is that the people most often affected are children and the elderly. Who else rides the bus as often as those two groups?
According to USA Today, there were only about 1,200 bus-related accidents in the country between 2004 and 2013. However, those accidents resulted in 134 deaths.
That number includes many people who weren’t even on the bus. In fact, 21% of those killed were outside the bus at the time of the accident.
While these numbers may seem low compared to the high overall numbers of vehicle accidents in the country, two things should be kept in mind. First, this is only school buses, not city buses or other buses (such as long-distance buses like Greyhound). And second, again, these are kids we’re talking about.
In order to lower these numbers even further, more should be done to make sure all students have seat belts on the bus, and that bus drivers are rigorously tested to make sure they are very safe and reliable drivers. The same should be expected of city buses, although seat belts are obviously not possible in that case.
The number of overall truck and bus accidents has been going up in recent years, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which means there’s never been a better time to start implementing higher standards for drivers and start looking for more innovations to help lower these numbers.
When buses are tasked with watching over our children and the elderly, and when the driver is responsible for such powerful machines, more has to be done to make sure everyone is safe onboard and on the street. There’s no excuse for any accident to be caused by a bus. As inconvenient as it can feel to drivers sometimes, buses should always be slow to start, slow to move, often stopping, and above all, safe.