American School Bus Council responds to school bus safety report

The American School Bus Council has issued a statement following recent Associated Press reports that indicate school bus accidents are double what had previously been reported.

The Associated Press reported that school-bus-related accidents send 17,000 children to emergency rooms annually, more than double the number that only included school bus crashes.

The council’s response said that the school bus study released by Columbus Children's Research Institute and set for publication in the journal Pediatrics, “is a valuable contribution to the investigative literature concerning school bus-related injuries.”

However, the council also said that the study, which analyzes the national U S database of children treated in hospital emergency departments during the study period 2001-2003, makes three major safety-related points:

- Just 4 percent of all injuries to children each year in motor vehicle crashes during school travel hours are school bus related.
- One-third of the injuries sustained were minor strains and sprains.
- 97 percent of all children with school bus-related injuries were treated and released from the hospital immediately.

The study is the first to describe nonfatal school bus-related injuries to U S children and teenagers. The study concludes that there is a "need for continuing vigilance to ensure that school buses remain a safe mode of transportation for children."

Some 470,000 school buses transport 25 million children - more than half of America's schoolchildren - each day, and complete 10 billion passenger trips and 4.3 billion miles per year, almost always without a serious incident.

According to the council, riding in a school bus is much safer than using any other form of transportation - including personal vehicles and railroad and airline travel. A child is 13 times safer in a school bus than in their parent's vehicle, and 44 times safer than traveling with a teenage driver

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