Special Investigation Report

Bus Crashworthiness Issues

NTSB Number SIR-99/04
NTIS Number PB99-917006

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Abstract: School bus and motorcoach travel are two of the safestforms of transportation in the United States. Each year, on average, nine school bus passengers and four motorcoach passengers are fatally injured in bus crashes, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and motorcoach industry statistics. In comparison, NHTSA statistics show that in 1998 over 41,000 people were fatally injured in highway crashes. Although much has been done to improve the safety of school buses and motorcoaches over the years, the safe transportation of bus passengers, especially students and senior citizens, continues to be a national safety priority. Children and seniors are predicted to be the fastest growing segments of our society, and these groups are the primary users of bus transportation.

The National Transportation Safety Board initiated this special investigation to determine whether additional measures should be taken to better protect bus occupants.  It examines school bus and motorcoach crashworthiness issues through the analysis of 6 school bus and 40 bus accidents and through information gathered at the Safety Boardís August 12, 1998, public hearing. This special investigation addresses the following crucial safety issues:

As a result of this special investigation, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Association of Governorsí Highway Safety Representatives, and the bus manufacturers.