School bus-related crashes killed 117 people nationwide in 2018, according to National Safety Council (NSC) tabulations of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
A school bus-related crash is defined by NHTSA as any crash in which a vehicle, regardless of body design, used as a school bus is directly or indirectly involved. This includes incidents involving school children getting in or out of a vehicle.
From 2009 to 2018, about 70% of the deaths in school bus-related crashes were occupants of vehicles other than the school bus, and 17% were pedestrians. About 5% were school bus passengers, 4% were school bus drivers, and 2% were pedalcyclists.
Of the people injured in school bus-related crashes from 2008 to 2018, about 36% were school bus passengers, 8% were school bus drivers, and 51% were occupants of other vehicles. The remainder were pedestrians, pedalcyclists, and other or unknown.
- Data Table
Deaths and injuries in school bus-related crashes, United States, 2007-2018
|Occupant of other vehicle||104||91||84||86||87||92||77||87||85||71||81|
|School bus passenger||15||3||10||4||8||6||7||5||9||4||9|
|School bus driver||4||2||6||7||6||5||4||8||5||8||3|
|Occupant of other vehicle||5,000||5,000||5,000||6,000||6,000||9,000||9,000||7,000||10,000||7,000||7,000|
|School bus passenger||6,000||6,000||3,000||4,000||2,000||11,000||4,000||4,000||5,000||4,000||4,000|
|School bus driver||1,000||1,000||1,000||(a)||1,000||2,000||1,000||2,000||1,000||1,000||2,000|
(a) Fewer than 500.
Characteristics of school bus transportation
According to the Schoolbus Fleet, an estimated 471,461 yellow school buses provide transportation service daily in the United States. About 25 million elementary and secondary school children ride school buses to and from school each day. This compares to projections from the U.S. Department of Education of K-12 enrollments in Fall 2018 of about 57.2 million public school students and 6.7 million private school students.
School buses are the best option for transporting kids to school, safer than both walking or riding in a car. NSC supports the adoption of lap restraints and shoulder belts to make them even safer.
The interactive map allows you to explore crash details of the 117 school bus-related fatal crashes in 2018. The filters on the right side of the map allow you to search for crashes by state, weather conditions, and indicate if speeding or distracted driving was reported as contributing circumstances. More details are also available by hovering over the red circular crash symbols.
- Data Table
Deaths for 2007-2015 – National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2017). Traffic Safety Facts 2006-2015 Data – School Transportation-Related Crashes (DOT HS 811 746). Washington, DC: NHTSA.
Fatality data for 2016 and 2017 deaths are NSC tabulations of Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data.
Injuries – National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2007-2015). Traffic Safety Facts, 2007-2015 editions. Washington, DC: NHTSA.
Injury data for 2016 are NSC tabulations of the NHTSA Crash Report Sampling System. School bus transportation data accessed Nov. 6, 2019, from Schoolbus Fleet.
Student enrollment data from the Digest of Education Statistics: 2018, accessed Nov. 6, 2019, from the National Center for Education Statistics.
aFewer than 500.