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Are school buses really safe?

Taxis, trains, Uber rides, school buses... what do all of these have in common? Aside from being modes of transportation, these services require customers to demonstrate a great deal of trust. Whether or not Virginians take this fact into account, thousands use these forms of conveyance each day. For the most part, taxis and buses are a reliable way to get to work and school; however, the comfort of the ride depends on the safety of the system.

USA Today spent time considering this reliability with public transportation -- particularly that of school buses. In response to the tragic 2015 school bus accident in Houston that killed two children, Today speculates on the number of fatal accidents that occur across the board. Drawing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the article uncovers the statistics that 1,214 school transportation accidents occurred between the years 2004 to 2013. These wrecks included regular trips to and from school, sports events and field trips. However, buses killed more people on the street than inside the vehicles between those years: only 54 of the 327 children killed in school transportation crashes were actually riding the bus. 

In recent years, there has been more focus toward the installation of seat belts in school buses. Taking a closer look at the facts, it is important to note the NHTSA's emphasis on the safety of buses in general, as they provide further data and resources to protect all who are travelling on roadways. According to their resources on bus safety, the very design of school buses helps them stay visible on the roads, even in inclement weather. In addition, specific laws prohibit drivers from passing a school bus while dropping off children. When it comes to seat belts, the NHTSA shares that buses distribute less crash force than standard vehicles. To accommodate this safety feature, the seats in school buses are sturdy and placed close together with energy-absorbing backs. Placing trust in strangers may seem a daunting task, but knowing the safety of these modes of transportation can create ease in daily commutes and other roadway journeys.      



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