Bus accidents claim the lives of about a dozen school children every year in America, and thousands of other school-age children get hurt in bus accidents annually; for a total of more than 5.76 billion miles per year, this safety record may seem relatively good – particularly when compared with motorcycle and bicycle accident rates, which are much higher per mile traveled.
Considering the American School Bus Council's estimate that about 480,000 buses in the U.S. are used to transport 25 million children each day. Nevertheless, school bus accidents tend to be particularly volatile and catastrophic due to two factors:
- School buses generally do not have seatbelts to keep students safely secured in place.
- School and other passenger buses (particularly those designed to carry 15 or more passengers) have higher centers of gravity. This makes these vehicles more susceptible to rolling over in an accident.
Public transit buses, shuttles, private motor coaches, airport passenger vans and commercial buses transport passengers over nearly 1 billion miles of road each year in the United States. Although National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics suggest that riding a commercial bus may be safer than riding a motorcycle (or even driving in certain cars and trucks), when bus accidents do occur the number of victims, as well as the extent and severity of injuries, tend to be devastating.
Nationwide and Indiana Bus Accident Statistics
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) national statistics, 280 buses were involved in fatal accidents in one recent year. School buses accounted for 41 percent of these accidents, followed by transit buses, which accounted for 33 percent, and intercity buses, which accounted for 13 percent.
In Indiana, the state’s most recent crash report reveals that of the 331,693 total vehicle-related collisions in the state, buses of varying types were involved in:
- 1,628 total collisions
- 3 fatal collisions
- 26 incapacitating collisions
- 193 non-incapacitating collisions
Indiana school buses were involved in:
- 761 total collisions
- 1 fatal collision
- 10 incapacitating collisions
- 71 non-incapacitating collisions
Other buses were involved in:
- 203 total collisions
- 0 fatal collisions
- 5 incapacitating collisions
- 24 non-incapacitating collisions
School Transportation-Related Accidents
Accidents involving school transportation vehicles tend to be among the most devastating, as these often involve innocent children under the age of 19, who are either on their way to or from school.
According to NHTSA, 1,214 school transportation-related accidents took place in the U.S. between 2004 and 2013. In these accidents:
- 1,344 people, or an average of 134 per year, lost their lives.
- 8 percent of the fatalities involved children and other occupants of school transportation vehicles, while 21 percent of the fatalities involved non-occupants, such as pedestrians and bicyclists.
- In 71 percent of school transportation-related accidents, occupants of other vehicles were the ones who suffered fatal injuries.
- Of the 106 school transportation occupants killed in vehicle-related collisions between 2004 and 2013, drivers accounted for 45 of them and passengers accounted for the remaining 61.
- 116 school-age children were killed while pedestrians in collisions involving school transportation vehicles.
Operators of public buses owe a higher standard of care to passengers and pedestrians.
Responding Effectively to Bus Accidents in Indiana
If you or your child has been injured in a bus accident in Indiana, you may need to take immediate steps to claim compensation from liable parties, such as a negligent bus driver or a municipality.
Bus accident cases can be legally complicated, as they may involve both private and public defendants.
Attorney Randall Sevenish has been practicing injury law in Indiana for more than 30 years, and you can speak with him today about your Indiana bus accident case in a free consultation. Call now or fill out our online contact form.