Advocates for improved safety on school buses are calling for stricter regulations as many states don’t mandate the use of seat belts even as around 17,000 individuals are injured on those vehicles per year.
While there were an average of 128 fatalities in crashes involving school buses annually between 2007 and 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, crashes not involving fatalities are far more common.
One child was injured just on Tuesday morning in Ohio after a Dayton Public Schools bus and a Chevrolet Equinox crashed, according to WDTN. Seven people were on the bus, including the driver.
The Herald-Ledger reported that four students were injured in Fulton County, Kentucky, on Sept. 15 after a bus was involved in an accident on U.S. 51.
Ten students and two adults were transported to the emergency room after a bus was involved in a rollover crash on Wednesday morning in Houston, according to FOX 26.
Five students were transported to the hospital after a school bus crashed in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sept. 15 at 12:05 p.m., according to AL.com
That’s just in the past week.
“When you are transporting our most precious passengers… one crash involving young children is too many,” Peter Kurdock, general counsel for Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, told Fox News Digital. “And especially when there are some things we can do, really commonsense things, to make school buses much safer.
“When you are transporting our most precious passengers… one crash involving young children is too many…”
Kurdock said more states and school districts need to start mandating seat belts on buses.
“A couple of the school bus crashes lately have highlighted the fact that the current system that they use for large school buses is not effective in certain types of crashes of keeping children inside the bus and seatbelts,” he said.
On Sept. 6, a school bus and city bus collided in Racine, Wisconsin, completely overturning the school bus into someone’s yard. Some of the seven to eight people on the city bus were treated for minor injuries.
No students were on the school bus at the time of the incident.
Julie Cooley, vice president of corporate and marketing communications at IMMI, a company that manufactures advanced safety products for commercial vehicles, told Fox News Digital that only about 25% to 30% of school buses on the road today are equipped with seatbelts.
Some states, such as Florida and New York, require lap belts on school buses. A handful of other states mandate seat belts on school buses, but Cooley says it’s not enough.
Cooley shared a video demonstration showing what happens during a school bus crash with and without seatbelts.
“If you think about it, the school bus, in addition to the motorcycle, is the only thing on our roads going 65 mph down our highways without seatbelts,” Cooley said. “And, you know, the problem is those school buses are carrying our children and the majority of them are unrestrained.”
Cooley pointed to a 2001-2003 study suggesting there are an estimated 17,000 school-bus related injuries per year.
She said many buses still rely on something called “compartmentalization” to keep kids safe, which operates on the assumption that students are sitting properly in their seats when a collision occurs. If students are in their seat properly, with compartmentalization, they should stay in that area.