Over 17,000 Harmed in School Bus Accidents Yearly

Over 17,000 Harmed in School Bus Accidents Yearly

A new study has found that between 2001 and 2003, more than 51,000 young children were injured badly enough in a school bus accident to require a trip to the emergency room, yielding a yearly average of about 17,000.

This figure is about twice as large as earlier estimates that included only injuries sustained in bus collisions, but may still be lower than the actual number because the study counted only children who were treated in emergency departments.

According to the study by the Center for Innovation Pediatric Practice, accidents sustained in crashes account for about 42 percent of all school bus injuries. Nearly a quarter of injuries occur while the child is boarding or exiting the bus.

Slips, trips, and falls caused by sudden bus movement and roughhousing also account for a significant number of injuries.

The injuries were rarely more serious than broken bones. A small percentage required hospitalization. Only 9 children die in school bus accident annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, though this number is based on police reports, so it may actually be low.

The authors said the study’s results argue strongly in favor of mandatory seatbelts in school buses.

The study’s lead author, Jennifer McGeegan, from the Columbus Children’s Hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy, said seatbelts “could not only prevent injuries related to crashes,” they could also keep children seated “so they’re not falling out of their seats when buses make normal turns or brake.”

However, bus companies are hesitant to install seatbelts because “It’s an expensive proposition to outfit school buses with lap-shoulder belts, not just because of the cost of the equipment but because it also reduces seating capacity,” said Robin Leeds of the National School Transportation Association.

Injured in a bus accident? If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a bus accident, please contact us today to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can answer your questions and help you recover compensation for your medical bills, pain, suffering, and more.

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