Car accidents are common on Seattle’s busy roads and highways, but many times school buses are responsible for major accidents. Parents in the Seattle area rely on school buses to safely get their children to and from school, sports or extracurricular activities. Hearing their child has been involved in a school bus accident can be extremely distressing, but just how common are school bus accidents?
School bus fatality and injury statistics
The National Safety Council reports that in 2019, accidents involving school buses killed 109 people throughout the country. An accident involving a school bus is defined as an accident where a vehicle used as a school bus is either directly or indirectly involved. This could mean a school bus slides off the road, collides with another vehicle or hits a pedestrian or bicyclist.
In terms of school bus accident injuries, 34% of people injured in school bus related accidents from 2010 to 2019 were school bus passengers, while 53% were passengers of other vehicles and only 8% were the school bus driver. While school buses remain a safer transportation option for children than walking or getting a ride to school in a car, children should wear shoulder and lap safety belts, if available.
Causes of school bus accidents
There are many causes of school bus accidents. Buses may drive too fast, pack too many children into the bus, fail to follow the traffic laws or drive inappropriately for weather conditions. School bus companies may not properly maintain buses, or engage in negligent hiring practices, hiring drivers who are not capable of safely driving a school bus or who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Due to their large size, school bus accidents are likely to cause more serious damage, to both people and vehicles, than crashes involving smaller cars. School bus drivers and school districts could both potentially be liable to school bus accident victims if they were negligent. Victims could receive compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering or other financial losses.