As vulnerable pedestrians, children are at risk of becoming involved in a traffic collision while waiting for or walking to the school bus. Across all age groups, more pedestrians than passengers are injured in school bus-related accidents. Prevention of these often fatal accidents requires diligent driving practices by drivers passing through areas near schools and bus stops.
Illegally Passing Stopped Buses Leads to Fatal Accidents
Of school bus drivers surveyed by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, 20% across 38 states reported that 84,000 passenger vehicles passed their busses illegally in a single day. When a vehicle passes a stopped school bus, children exiting or boarding the bus are at risk. On average, 19 school-aged children die each year from being struck while exiting or boarding a school bus. The most significantly impacted age group was children aged 5 to 7 years.
Negligent Driving Causing Child Pedestrian Injuries
One in every five children under 15 killed in traffic crashes is a pedestrian. Distracted driving and other negligent driving behaviors contribute to child pedestrian deaths. The likelihood of an accident increases by 23 times when drivers are distracted. When a driver is inattentive, his or her reaction time is significantly decreased. This is a significant concern in school zones or around bus stops, where large crowds of children may be walking on or near the street. Children in these areas may also be inattentive, distracted by playing with peers or electronic devices. Attentive driving practices can help drivers to spot children in the street before it’s too late.
In addition to distracted driving, speeding through school zones and bus stop areas can cause child pedestrian death and injury. Drivers who fail to drive slowly in congested school zones greatly reduce their reaction time and risk a collision with a pedestrian.
Poor Infrastructure Influencing Child Pedestrian Accidents
From 2007 to 2016, pedestrian deaths in traffic accidents increased by 27%. Poor infrastructure can lead to child pedestrian accidents. A lack of a safe, clear walkway can lead a child to walk in the street, putting him or her at risk of being struck by a vehicle. In addition to a need for better walking paths, cities could reduce child pedestrian accidents by creating safer drop-off and pick-up areas for students waiting for school buses.