School Bus Safety Needed For Drivers

School buses carry some of our nation’s most important people: kids on their way to school. The task of getting kids to class on time is a really important job, and despite the lack of seatbelts and the noise of kids talking, buses are generally a pretty safe way to travel.

However, there has been a marked rise of school bus crashes in the Tampa Area, concerning many people who wonder why drivers don’t know how to react to school buses on the road.

The Past Five Years

Looking at data from the past five years, crash rates are up in five counties in the Tampa area. In Hillsborough County, school bus accidents are up 15 percent. In Pasco county, they’re up a staggering 65 percent. And Sarasota County had a 50 percent increase from 2012

Accidents commonly happen in Plant City, South Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon, and Sarasota. In the Sarasota area there have been 17 school bus crashes so far this year, with a bus accident every 21 days on average. And all over the bay area, there’s an average of 486 school bus accidents. These accidents resulted in 302 injuries and 2 deaths last year. Despite these scary statistics, the crashes are increasing nearly every year.

April is the worst month for school bus crashes, likely due to the rainy weather, and Tuesday has the most crashes in terms of days of the week.

The Demands

It’s true that driving a bus is a difficult job. There are a lot of distractions and kids don’t always behave properly, however the care and safekeeping of our kids demands a high level of vigilance and attention. But in most of these cases, the bus driver was not at fault.

Irresponsible pedestrian behavior and the carelessness of other drivers resulted in the highest percentage of crashes. Despite warning lights and the bright color of buses, drivers around buses often don’t take necessary precautions and give enough following room.

The Good News

Luckily, school buses are still one of the safest ways to travel in the United States. On average, only six school aged kids die in school bus crashes per year compared to the 42,000 people killed in car crashes every year. School buss are 7 times safer than driving in a vehicle, and each school bus replaces an average of 36 cars that would otherwise be on the road. So despite the concerns you may have about your child’s safety on the bus, you can rest easy knowing that buses are still very safe.

The issue is not the buses or the driver of the bus, but the drivers of other vehicles on the road. Our only course of action as responsible vehicle drivers is to slow down, be aware, and pay attention to the buses you see on the road. Help keep the crash rates in the Tampa area and across the country from rising this year, and do your part to drive responsibly.

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