America is home to over 14,000 school districts, accounting for over 50 million children enrolled in public schools. Half of those students get to school on a bus, with an average trip duration of 30 minutes one-way.
Considering this, it's understandable that many parents are concerned with their child's safety while on their way to school. Although this kind of bus accident isn't too common, the risk is still there, and often, people are left to wonder just how safe these vehicles are.
Safety By Design
Yellow - that's more than likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a school bus. But did you know that this color was chosen for its safety purposes? According to the Smithsonian, this color was chosen in 1939 by a group of educators and transportation officials attending an inaugural conference to discuss making buses safer.
This specific shade, however, is notable because it stimulates the photoreceptor cells in the eyes, meaning that your child's school bus is likely to be seen from any angle. Although it is not a federal requirement that this color is used, most school districts in the U.S. opt for this eye-catching yellow.
Following its 1939 debut, the National Congress on School Transportation (NCST) meets every five years to discuss the safety procedures and specifications of buses. They have discussed passenger limits, accommodations for students with disabilities, and additional safety features in years' past.
However, in the 80+ years since the first NCST, the bus structure heavily remains the same. These vehicles are designed to be over 70 times heavier than standard cars with a full passenger load, and the frame is built to lessen damage from a rollover. Flashing lights, the stop sign, and contrasting black letting have also remained consistent.
A common question that many bus drivers have received over the years is why seat belts are not required. Much of this has to do with the way it's built. Have you ever noticed that the seatbacks tend to be taller than the average child sitting down? This is because they are made to act as a cushion and absorb the impact of a crash. On a standard-sized school bus, this virtually eliminates the need for a seatbelt.
That being said, eight states, including California, still require that they be installed. School buses are built to be safe, and considering that less than 1% of accidents each year involve a bus of any kind, children are pretty well off in this giant yellow vehicle.
However, in the chance that a school bus accident occurs, you want to be prepared if your child gets hurt by having an experienced injury attorney by your side. Lara Law Firm has been protecting passengers against negligent motorists for decades and will work with you to receive adequate compensation following an accident.
If you or a loved one is injured in a school bus accident, call (626) 790-5758 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation. Meetings are available in Chinese, English, Spanish and Vietnamese.