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INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: BRIEFS


NEW STUDENT FATALITY DATA SHOWS MAJORITY ARE KILLED CROSSING TO THEIR BUS STOPS


O


f the children who die each year in traffic accidents, the industry knows that very few of them are killed while riding the school bus. But the number of school-age pedestrians killed around their school bus and near their bus stop can differ significantly depend-


ing on how the data is gathered. In its National School Bus Loading & Unloading Survey for 2012-2013, the Kansas State Department of Education reported that nine children died in the loading or unloading areas of a school bus. Based on data from individual states, the survey includes stu- dent fatalities between June 30, 2012, and July 1, 2013, noting loca- tion, time of day, weather conditions and victim ages. Not included are on-board fatalities. Te KSDE survey summary states that six of the 2012-2013 fatali-


ties (or two-thirds) involved a vehicle other than the school bus, while three were attributed to the school bus. Of the nine reported fatalities, eight involved school-age children and one involved a toddler who wandered unseen in front of a school bus before being hit. STN only counted school-age children who were 5 to 18 years old. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administra-


tion’s latest Traffic Safety Facts, which was released in March, each year eight school-age pedestrians on average are killed by school transportation vehicles, and four are killed by other vehicles in school bus–related crashes. Yet STN’s independent research for the 2012-2013 school year


found 23 student deaths occurred, which included bus occupants as well as two student pedestrians who were fatally struck by a school bus on the way to a school campus instead of a bus stop. STN re- ported that 18 school-age pedestrians died around their school bus


or their bus stop — double the number the KSDE reported. Te discrepancy between the STN total and Kansas’ may arise


from the definition of “loading and unloading zone” as related to bus stops. Wilma Crabtree of the KSDE’s School Bus Safety Unit previously explained to STN that the department can only count fa- talities that occur when the school bus is “in the vicinity” of the bus stop. Conversely, STN research culled from national wire reports in- cludes all fatalities in which students at their bus stop, or approach- ing it, were fatally struck whether or not the bus was on scene. While KSDE reported three students were hit and killed by a


school bus, STN reported four, counting a 5-year-old Texas girl who was struck by a bus as she crossed the road to her school. Of the STN total for loading and unloading zones, 12 out of 18 student pedestrians (two-thirds) were killed while crossing the road to reach their bus stop. Both the Kansas and STN data reveal that at least half of all fatal student-pedestrian accidents occurred when it was still dark outside, with KSDE reporting four pre-dawn accidents and STN reporting 12. According to NHTSA, 119 school-age pedestrians younger than 19 died in school-transportation-related crashes from 2003 to 2012 (calendar years). Sixty-five percent were struck by school buses, 5 percent by vehicles used as school buses and 30 percent by other vehicles. In addition, the agency reported that 1,353 people were killed in


school-transportation-related crashes from 2003 to 2012 — includ- ing 119 school-age pedestrians younger than 19 (see tables, below). Of the 119 crashes that killed students, 46 (39 percent) occurred in the early morning hours.


Student (Age <19 years) Pedestrian Fatalities in School Transportation–Related Crashes by Vehicle Maneuver, 2003–2012 Vehicle Maneuver


School Bus Body Type


Going Straight


Accelerating in Traffic Lane Starting in Traffic Lane Stopped in Road


Passing or Overtaking Another Vehicle


36 1


2


16 1


Leaving/Entering a Parked Position 0 Maneuvering to Avoid Turning Right Turning Left


Negotiating a Curve


Changing/Merging Lanes Total


5 0 6 9 1


77


Vehicle Used as School Bus


3 0 0 1


0


0 0 0 0 1 1


6


Other Body Type


24 0 0 0 0


6 0 1 1


0 4


36 Total


63 1


2


17 1


6 5 1


7


10 6


119


Note: The annually compiled data is made available by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, an office of NHTSA. All Student Fatalities in School Transportation–Related Crashes, U.S., 2003–2012 Pedestrians


Occupants of School Transportation Vehicles


55


Occupants of Other Vehicles


161 119 8 1


Pedalcyclists Other Non-occupants


28 School Transportation News May 2014


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