How many buses are involved in accidents?
A look into recent bus accident statistics in Michigan and across the country
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 2015, Americans took more than 5 billion bus trips for more than 20 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.
Michigan bus accidents
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 2017, there were a total of 13,416 bus and truck accidents, according to the latest figures available from Michigan Traffic Crash Facts. Of those crashes, 96 were fatal and 2,437 were classified as “injury crashes.”
National bus accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) compiles data every year relating to accidents that occur around the country. There were 225 fatal bus accidents and 15,000 injury crashes involving buses in 2016, according to the NHTSA’s “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2016” (which reflects the most current data available).
NHTSA also notes the following about the 2016 fatal bus crashes:
- 86 fatal crashes involved school buses
- 16 fatal crashes involved in cross-country, intercity buses (or motorcoaches).
- 93 fatal crashes involved transit buses
For more information, here’s a look at the common causes of bus accidents.