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School Bus Studies

Every day across the country, nearly 500,000 buses carry more than 25 million students to and from school and activities.

School buses are the safest vehicles on the road, and one of the safest modes of transportation overall. In fact, children are much safer traveling in school buses than in any other vehicle, whether they’re going to or from school, a field trip, or a sporting event. They’re even safer riding in a school bus than in a car with their parents.

School buses use a unique technology called compartmentalization—a passive occupant protection system. School bus seats, made with an energy-absorbing steel inner structure and high, padded seat backs, are secured to the school bus floor. Students are protected within the seating compartment much like eggs in a carton.

NTSB Calls for Seat Belts, Safety Technology on School Buses
In response to two school bus crash investigations that occurred in 2016 - one in Baltimore, Md., and one in Chattanooga, Tenn. - and in the wake of a recent fatal school bus crash in New Jersey, the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all new large school buses be equipped with lap/shoulder seat belts and that the vehicles themselves be fitted with two types of safety systems. 

The agency's nine pages of recommendations called upon the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to "require all new school buses to be equipped with collision avoidance systems and automatic emergency braking technologies."

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Motorcoach and Schoolbus Fire Safety Analysis | November 2016
This Fire Safety Analysis report looks to identify the causes, frequency, and severity of motorcoach and school bus fires in the United States, and determine potential ways to prevent or reduce the severity of these incidents.

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Tennessee School Bus Crash Revives Debate Over Seat Belts
CBS News: A crash that in killed five children in Tennessee is reviving discussion over whether school buses - considered among the safest vehicles on the road because of their height and bulk - should also be equipped with seat belts. Only six states require seat belts on large buses. Many others, including Tennessee, have considered but dropped such legislation in recent years out of concerns including cost.

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Despite scary reports, federal data shows school buses are a safer mode of travel
The Washington Post: While most crashes involving a school bus — like Tuesday’s fatal accident in Baltimore —make the news, federal data shows that they remain one of  the safest ways for  children to get to and from school.

Data for fatal crashes shows that children are nearly eight times safer in a school bus than in a car driven by a parent or guardian, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Although school buses have about 0.2 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, that rate for private cars is 1.5 per 100 million miles.

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School-Transporation-Related Crashes: 2005-2014 Data
From 2005 to 2014 there were 331,760 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those crashes, 1,191 (0.4%) were classified as school-transportation-related.

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