Overall bus fatalities have been steadily declining for the past few years, according to crash statistics compiled and released by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The figures limited to school buses, however, show the number of fatalities growing.
Between 2014 and 2015, the FMCSA found that the number of bus crash fatalities dropped by 14 percent, from 298 to 256 deaths. In 2013, there were 332 deaths. It must be noted that these amounts are a tally of fatalities involving all forms of bus transportation.
The information collected by the FMCSA was derived from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). The most recent data was compiled from January to November 2015.
The Kansas State Department of Education collected the specific figures for school bus fatalities, finding that four children died in the 2014-2015 school year. This was down from seven the year before. Five students were killed in school bus-related crashes in 2013.
But data gathered by School Transportation News indicated that 19 students were killed in accidents involving school buses last year, however, STN uses different criteria to quantify fatalities from the Kansas DOE's report.
The Kansas DOE gathered its data based solely on incidents that involved students in or around the loading/unloading zone of a school bus. STN, on the other hand, expanded its criteria to include incidents that occured aboard the school bus, as students were walking to or from school on top of fatalities in or around the loading/unloading zone.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently published a report, Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2014, finding that, from 2004 to 2014, school buses accounted for 41 percent of all buses involved in fatal crashes. Intercity buses and transit buses made up 13 percent and 33 percent respectively.