Bus Crash Statistics: Injuries, Fatalities, and Property Damage
Every day, across the nation, thousands of buses carry children to school, workers to their jobs, people to various points in an area, and even travelers across the country. Commuter buses, school buses, city buses, and charter buses make life easier for so many, providing affordable conveyance for many people and an environmentally smart transportation solution. They are considered one of the safest forms of travel for both around town or long distance with just 0.14 deaths per billion miles. However, each year bus accidents do occur causing injuries, property damage, and even fatalities.
Bus Crash Overview
Buses and trucks made up just 11.9 percent of fatal crashes on United States roadways in 2015. With a total of 32,166 fatal crashes overall, encompassing all types of vehicles, only 257 involved a bus. Of the 6,295,000 nonfatal vehicle crashes that year, only 4.02 percent (67,000) involved at least one bus or large truck.
In 2015 the number of bus crash statistics rose slightly.
- 257 fatal bus crashes
- 49 bus occupant fatalities
- 295 total fatalities in all bus crashes for 2015
- 14,000 bus crashes that resulted in injury
- 53,000 bus crashes that resulted in property damage only
There were 888,907 buses registered nationwide and they traveled 16.2 billion miles during 2015.
A breakdown of fatal bus crashes is as follows:
- Intercity buses –32 deaths
- Transit buses and school buses –190 deaths
- All other types of buses – 35 deaths
How many people are injured on City and Tour Buses?
City buses and tour buses are considered safe, but the actual numbers are difficult to come by. Many tour bus and city bus crashes are unreported. This is because bus companies benefit from keeping bus crash statistics down for a variety of reasons. More people on the vehicle and the fact that there are no seat belts theoretically increase the number of injuries in the event of a crash, but this is not always true. City bus seats are constructed much like school bus seats, with high backs and armrests to keep the riders compartmentalized, or in their seats should the bus crash.
An inexperienced or elderly bus driver does increase accident risks significantly. Distracted driving has also become a problem as mobile devices and smartphones increase in popularity. Impairment of the driver due to alcohol consumption, substance use that impairs reflexes, or excessive drowsiness can also contribute to an elevated risk of a crash.
How many people are injured on School Buses?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects data on all vehicle accidents, including bus crashes and report that approximately 98 people die in crashes that involve a school vehicle but only 9 percent of those that are killed are actually bus passengers. Other victims of school bus crashes such as bicyclists, pedestrians, and others that are outside of the bus makeup 91 percent of the fatalities. Almost nine-tenths of school bus-related fatalities are other motorists.
While most states do not require children to wear seat belts while riding a school bus (Florida, New Jersey, and New York require lap belts on school buses), the children are still considered safer, statistically speaking, riding in a school bus than riding in a passenger vehicle.
Bus Crashes and Property Damage
The Federal Highway Administration does not have a reporting threshold for property damage due to vehicle crashes. Property damage thresholds are left up to the states to define and the FHWA collects the reports from each state in its data collection practices. The NHTSA records property damage only crashes and reports them, but they do not have thresholds either.
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