Serious bus accidents may seem rare due to the fact that there are less buses on the roads than passenger cars. But the truth is, due to their sheer size and force — and serious safety issues that often arise when there’s negligent management — many more serious bus crashes occur than you may think.
To get an idea, let’s take a look at the bus industry. The Public Transportation Fact Book states that in 2013, Americans took more than 10 billion bus trips for more than 50 billion passenger miles. Not surprisingly, public transportation today is a $58 billion industry comprised of more than 7,700 organizations that employ more than 400,000 people, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
As a natural result of bus industry growth for the past 60 years, there’s a greater number of bus crashes and related deaths or serious injuries.
Now for the safety issues. Older school buses, motor coaches, and Greyhound buses that lack seat belts and other safety equipment may increase the risk of injury or death from a bus accident.
Further, the size and speed of buses involved in accidents can result in severe injuries for passengers, drivers and other victims. A typical, fully-loaded school bus can weigh about 42,000 pounds, while an average passenger car weighs approximately 3,000 pounds. Due to this size disparity and the basic laws of physics, any collision between a bus and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, and often fatal, injuries. Also keep in mind that unrestrained bus passengers can be thrown about the steel interior of a motor coach.
Take a look at the Michigan and national bus accident statistics below.
In Michigan, bus accident statistics are compiled along with truck accidents, as they’re both considered commercial motor vehicles according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). In 2014, the latest figures available, there were a total of 13,344 bus and truck accidents. These include crashes, and wrecks involving injuries and deaths, according to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts.
Of these, there were 98 deaths and 2,292 injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) compiles data every year relating to accidents that occur around the country. There were 234 fatal bus accidents in 2014, according to the NHTSA and its latest available statistics. The NHTSA also notes:
As for the injury accidents, the NHTSA also lumps buses and commercial trucks together. Nationally, in 2014, there were a total of 100,000 large trucks and buses involved in injury crashes, with a total of 132,000 people being injured in those crashes.
For more information, here’s a look at the common causes of bus accidents.