Public transportation is often believed to be the safe choice for getting around urban areas, but this is not always the case. Around fifty five thousand bus accidents occur in the US each year, and resulting injuries can be severe because buses generally do not have seatbelts. While statistically riding a bus is much safer than riding in a car, no transportation choice is one hundred percent safe.
School Bus Accidents
The school bus is often regarded as a comforting, positive force in communities. But with the number of children and schools in the US, school bus accidents are bound to happen. Since 1998, 149 school age pedestrians have died in school transportation related crashes (http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811165.pdf
It may be surprising to learn that federal law does not require seatbelts on school buses (http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/child-safety-school-bus-still-best
). The states of New York, New Jersey and Florida have laws requiring lap belts on school buses, but most school buses rely on the concept of compartmentalization. This method utilizes heavily padded seats with high seat backs, creating a compartment that protects kids in a crash. Compartmentalization fails to protect kids in situation where a bus tilts over, or kids are out of their seats. More information is needed to know how best to protect school age children in transit.
City and Tour Bus Accidents
At least one hundred and thirty seven bus crash related fatalities occur in the US each year, and many more injuries. However, it is difficult to determine how safe city and tour buses are as accidents involving these types of vehicles are drastically underreported. It is in the interest of bus manufacturers and bus companies to keep statistics as much in their favor as possible.
What we do know for sure about bus accidents is that the risk of injury is greater. Much like plane accidents, a bus accident results in multiple injuries because of the number of people involved. Buses usually do not have seatbelts, leaving people inside unrestrained in the event of an accident.
Having an elderly or inexperienced bus driver has been shown to significantly increase the risk of an accident. As when driving any other form of motor vehicle, bus drivers should refrain from alcohol consumption and be sure to not drive when excessively drowsy or otherwise inebriated.