School bus-related crashes killed 54 people nationwide in 2020, down by over 50% compared to 2019 according to National Safety Council (NSC) tabulations of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It is likely that this sharp decline was a result of fewer school bus trips occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. However, 2020 school bus transportation statistics are not yet available to confirm this possibility.
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 2011 to 2020, about 70% of the deaths in school bus-related crashes were occupants of vehicles other than the school bus, and 16% were pedestrians. About 5% were school bus passengers, 5% were school bus drivers, and 3% were pedalcyclists.
Of the people injured in school bus-related crashes from 2011 to 2020, about 33% were school bus passengers, 8% were school bus drivers, and 54% were occupants of other vehicles. The remainder were pedestrians, pedalcyclists, and other or unknown.
Characteristics of school bus transportation
According to the Schoolbus Fleet, in the 2018-19 school year an estimated 479,867 yellow school buses provide transportation service daily in the United States. About 23 million elementary and secondary school children ride school buses to and from school each day. Estimates for the number of students transported in 2020 are not yet available.
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-and-shoulder belt safety restraints to make them even safer.
The interactive map allows you to explore crash details of the 54 school bus-related fatal crashes in 2020. 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.
Deaths and injuries in school bus-related crashes, United States, 2010-2020
|Occupant of other vehicle||84||86||87||92||77||87||85||71||80||81||42|
|School bus passenger||10||4||8||6||7||5||9||4||9||4||1|
|School bus driver||6||7||6||5||4||8||5||8||3||5||1|
|Occupant of other vehicle||5,000||6,000||6,000||9,000||9,000||7,000||10,000||7,000||7,000||6,000||3,400|
|School bus passenger||3,000||4,000||2,000||11,000||4,000||4,000||5,000||4,000||4,000||5,000||600|
|School bus driver||1,000||(a)||1,000||2,000||1,000||2,000||1,000||1,000||1,000||1,000||500|
(a) Fewer than 500.
- Data Table
- Fatality data are NSC tabulations of Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data.
- Injury data are NSC tabulations of the NHTSA Crash Report Sampling System.
- School bus transportation data accessed March 23, 2022, from Schoolbus Fleet