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Eric T. Chaffin
Eric T. Chaffin
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Move Over GM, Blue Bird Is Recalling Thousands of School Buses

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General Motors isn’t the only manufacturer facing recalls. Blue Bird, a school bus manufacturer is recalling more than 2,500 All American school buses and more than 400 transit buses due to a steering problem. The company said the problem can occur if the shaft clamp comes into contact with a rubber close-out boot on the floor. According to the Associated Press, the recalls were filed with the NHTSA.

Some school buses are also being recalled due to a propane leak.

School Bus Safety

According to the NHTSA, there have been 348,253 fatal vehicle accidents since 2003, and out of those, 1,222 were “school-transportation-related.” (The NHTSA uses this description for any school bus and non-school bus that acts as a school bus).

The data from 2003 to 2012 shows that 174 school-age children died in school-transportation related crashes. Some of those involved occupants, while the majority were pedestrians.

School buses are designed to provide a safer means of transportation for children, according to the American School Bus Council. There are frequent driving record checks required for drivers, in addition to drug and alcohol testing. Buses are also equipped with stop signs, cross-view mirrors, bright colors, and flashing red lights among other safety features.

The Council reports that students driven by other students (teenagers) have a 58% chance per year of being involved in a fatal crash. If they are traveling with an adult that number decreases to 23% and it’s even lower if traveling on a school bus at 1%.

The NHTSA found that school buses are 7% safer than other motor vehicles on the road.

Where are the Seatbelts on School Buses?

You are most likely taught from a young age to always wear your seatbelt in the car. Most parents will not even start the car until their children are buckled in, but you put your child on a school bus and more likely than not there aren’t any seatbelts for them to use. Why is this considered to be ok?

The NHTSA states that school buses have a different design than other motor vehicles and use a “different kind of safety restraint system.” The agency says that large buses use something called “compartmentalization,” which means “occupant crash protection is provided by a protective envelope consisting of strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs.” Through various studies the NHTSA did not find that installing seatbelts in larger school buses was a necessity to improve safety.

Smaller school buses do have seatbelts since they are similar in size to other motor vehicles on the road.

School Bus Accident Injury

Be smart. Just because school buses are designed to keep your child safe it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow any and all precautions in and around a bus. Adhere to school bus stop signs and make sure your children don’t run out in front of one.