Safest mode of travel for schoolchildren

Some American safety advocates have been lobbying for years to have seat belts installed on school buses. Federal mandates for school bus seat belt use have been strenuously opposed by schools nationwide, because of the expense, and the additional personnel that would be needed to monitor kids' compliance.

Actually, fatalities among school bus passengers are relatively rare. According to a study by the National Research Council:

  • School buses account for one-fourth of all trips to and from schools, but only 2 percent of children's deaths in school-related traffic accidents.

  • By contrast, teenage drivers account for 14 percent of trips and 55 percent of traffic deaths.

  • Accidents with adults driving accounted for 20 percent of students' deaths; children walking accounted for 16 percent; and biking to school, 6 percent.

    Thus buses are the safest mode of transportation to school.

    Source: Michael Healy, Travel Safest on Board School Buses, A Better Life, USA Today, June 20, 2002; based on The Relative Risks of School Travel: A National Perspective and Guidance for Local Community Risk Assessment, Special Report 269, Committee on School Transportation Safety, National Research Council, 2002.

    For NRC report
    For more on Vehicle Safety regulation

    FMF Policy Bulletin\25 June 2002

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