Every weekday during the school year, school transportation systems in the United States operate approximately 440,000 yellow school buses to provide safe and reliable transportation for more than 24 million school-aged children. This sizeable transportation system is considered the largest mass transit program in the nation, with more than 55 million student trips per day, which equates to approximately 10 billion student trips per year. The objective of this synthesis is to document current information on the various safety issues faced by school bus operators, including how the issues are currently addressed, barriers to improvements, and making improvements in the future. This synthesis includes a literature review and a peer-reviewed survey on school bus safety issues that was disseminated to a variety of professionals associated with school bus operations. The literature review involved investigating resources dating back 34 years. School bus safety issues identified in the literature review are presented in terms of each aspect of school bus operations, including the driver, environment, equipment/technology, and organizational design. The survey was distributed widely across the nation using e-mail, telephone, flyer, print, and electronic advertisements. A total of 198 individuals responded to the survey. Although there are a variety of safety issues in pupil transportation, those regarded as the most critical by survey respondents included illegal passing of buses by other motorists, the behavior of passengers both on the bus and while loading and unloading, and driver skill level. In addition, there appears to be growing concern regarding security and violence issues on the school bus and at bus stops. These results, including a description of barriers to safety and potential solutions, are discussed in this report.
Transportation; Transportation workers; Education; Bus drivers; Transportation industry; Motor vehicles; Safety research; Safety practices; Truck drivers; Trucking; Drivers; Behavior; Violence; Work experience; Work operations; Work organization; Work performance; Work environment; Worker safety; Equipment reliability; Environmental technology; Technology transfer