The eight students killed onboard school buses in 2012 brought the 10-year total of such fatalities to 55, according to the latest data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On average, six of the approximately 25 million student school bus riders nationwide are killed in crashes on the school bus each year.
The total number of school bus occupant fatalities from 2003 through 2012 increased to 106 when factoring in the 46 driver fatalities reported in the newly released data. Meanwhile, 962 occupants of other vehicles and 244 pedestrians have been killed in these crashes within that 10-year span, which accounted for slightly more than one-third of one percent of all 348,253 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes that occurred in the same period.
Afternoon and evening continues to be the most dangerous time for school transportation-related trips. During those 10 years, 16 students on the school bus were killed from 3 to 3:59 p.m., double that of any other period of the day. Eight student fatalities occurred during the 4 p.m. hour and seven during the 7 a.m. hour. Six students were killed during the 2 p.m. ride time and five during the 8 a.m. period.
NHTSA said a total of 1,353 people, or an average of 135 per year, were killed in the past decade in these school-transportation-related crashes, defined as directly or indirectly involving a school bus or a vehicle functioning as a school bus to transport children to or from school or school-related activities. On average, eight school-age pedestrians are killed each year by school buses or vehicles used as school buses, while four students are killed by drivers of other vehicles.
NHTSA found that school buses or vehicles functioning as school buses struck 65 percent of all school-age pedestrians fatally injured in crashes over the span. In 33 percent of all incidents, the school bus or vehicle functioning as a school bus was traveling straight when a fatality occurred. Meanwhile, 14 percent of such deaths occurred when the bus or related vehicle was stopped in the roadway.
Vehicles of other body types such as passenger cars, light trucks and vans, large trucks and motorcycles struck the remaining 30 percent of school-aged pedestrians.
The annual and compiled data is made available by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis.