Transportation Review: School Bus Safety

school busAugust 2012

Every week during the school year, 26 million children begin and end each day with a trip on a school bus. More than 450,000 school buses travel approximately 4.3 billion miles annually. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of six children a year die in school bus crashes as passengers. An average of four children age 14 and younger were killed, and 529 were injured in motor vehicle crashes each day in the United States in 2008.

These statistics indicate that school buses are safe. Because of the importance of school bus transportation, NHTSA has established several safety standards to maintain this level of safety. Based on data from school bus crashes, NHTSA determines what types of school bus safety standards are necessary. The standards focus on human, vehicle and environmental variables that affect the safety level of school bus transportation.

This report provides an overview of information regarding school bus safety. It also analyzes state action on a variety of different issues, including seatbelts, cellular phone use, driver licensing and illegally passing school buses.

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Federal Action

  • Seatbelts and Compartmentalization
  • School Bus Fire Safety Standards

State Action

  • Seatbelts
  • Licensing School Bus Drivers
  • Illegally Passing School Buses
  • School Bus Technology: Cameras and Videos
  • Advertising on School Buses
  • School Bus Fire Safety
  • Cellular Phones
  • Vehicle Technology