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School Bus Accidents? A Growing Problem?

School bus accidents seemed to be on the increase in New York City during 2013.  There were at least three school bus accidents in which children and adults were injured.  Although this school year is less than a month old, there have already been two accidents.  The most recent crash occurred last week, and was reported by CBS News.

On Tuesday morning, nine children and two adults were injured around 7:20 AM at Liberty Avenue and 183rd Street in Queens.  The previous week saw the first major school bus accident of the year.  Two school buses collided in the Bronx, injuring 27 children. There were also reports of minor school bus accidents on the first day of school, September 4.

In an effort to address the seemingly growing problem of school bus accidents, the New York City Council voted in August to dedicate $42 million to increase the pay of experienced school bus drivers. The argument behind the increase, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, is to help retain more experienced drivers who are generally safer drivers.  This may help.  Given the traffic conditions in the city, however, even the most experienced driver faces serious challenges navigating the streets and keeping passengers.

Although school bus drivers elsewhere may not face the same level of traffic congestion that drivers in NYC experience, school bus accidents are still a national problem.  According to a report prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an average of 135 school-bus-related fatalities occurred each year from 2002 to 2011, for a total of 1,351 deaths in school transportation crashes across the United States.