Incidence and Characteristics of School Bus Crashes and Injuries

OBJECTIVE: Studies of school bus crashes have focused on the biomechanics of catastrophic collisions, with very few examining crash incidence.

METHODS: Crashes in the state of Iowa were examined from January 2002 through December 2005. School bus crashes were identified through the Iowa Crash Data, a comprehensive database of all reported crashes in the State of Iowa. School bus mileage data were provided by the Iowa Department of Education. School bus crash, fatality, and injury rates were calculated and differences in crash and injury characteristics between school buses and other vehicles were examined.

RESULTS: The school bus crash, fatality and non-fatal injury rates were 320.7, 0.4 and 13.6 per 100 million bus miles travelled, respectively. School bus crash fatality and injury rates were 3.5 and 5.4 times lower than overall all vehicle crash fatality and injury rates, respectively. Drivers of other vehicles were more likely to have caused the crash than the bus driver (P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: School buses experience low crash rates, and the majority of crashes do not lead to injury. Buses are among the safest forms of road transportation, and efforts to educate drivers of other vehicles may help reduce crashes with buses.

Yang, J., Peek-Asa, C., Cheng, G., Heiden, E., Falb, S., & Ramirez, M. Incidence and Characteristics of School Bus Crashes and Injuries. 41 2 336-41. 10.1016/j.aap.2008.12.012.