9/19/2019Latest NHTSA Report: No School Bus Passing Deaths In 2017
US Department of Transportation statistics show that school bus drivers cause more child fatalities than passing motorists.
Only five percent of the children who died in an accident involving a school bus were struck by an automobile. That fact is found in the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tally of a decade's worth of school bus safety data.
"More than half of the school-age pedestrians fatally injured in school-transportation-related crashes were struck by school buses or vehicles functioning as school buses," federal researchers explained in their report.
According to the figures, no child died in 2017 after being hit by a motorist passing a school bus. There were, however, 1241 fatalities involving a school bus over the decade from 2008 to 2017, including 57 pedestrians who were struck by an automobile. Of these, only two accidents were caused by an automobile passing the school bus.
TheNewspaper has analyzed NHTSA data from the past 34 years and found that school bus drivers take the blame for 76 percent of fatalities involving a school bus from 1983 to 2017. Since 1983, the average number of fatal accidents caused by passing motorists has declined from 2.3 per year to just 0.2 per year.
Lawmakers across the country have chosen to focus on motorist behavior rather than improving school bus driver training and screening. So far, sixteen states have authorized installation of automated ticketing machines on school buses. In Dallas, Texas, political support of stop arm camera legislation was the direct result of bribery.
Force Multiplier Solutions, a bus camera company, funneled millions of dollars in "campaign contributions" and illicit kickbacks to state and local lawmakers. Dwaine Caraway, a former powerful member of the Dallas city council, took $450,000 in cash laundered through shell companies in return for delivering stirring speeches on the urgent need to adopt bus camera implementation legislation.
"This is the council that decided to get this bill implemented for the safety of the children," Caraway said in a May 13, 2015, speech. "The key is we must keep them safe... People who run past these buses are putting kids and pedestrians at risk."
In the end, the school bus camera contract bankrupted Dallas County Schools and led to the conviction of Caraway and several others involved in the scheme. Caraway is currently serving time in the minimum-security federal prison in Seagoville, Texas. He is scheduled for release on May 31, 2023.
Concerns about an existing school bus camera contract with BusPatrol were raised in July by the inspector general for Montgomery County, Maryland (view report).
"While BusPatrol and FMS [Force Multiplier Solutions] may technically be different corporate entities, they remain at the same address, with the same telephone number, and using the same equipment on the same contracts," the report found. "The president of FMS is now the president of BusPatrol and is the same person who introduced a criminal conspirator to county and MCPS employees. Furthermore, it was also discovered that the current CEO of BusPatrol is listed in Canadian legal documents as being a co-director of Force Multiplier Solutions Canada (which filed a corporate name change to become BusPatrol Canada)... Given the continuity of key people, history of corporate name changes and the pattern of misinformation provided, a prudent response of healthy skepticism appears appropriate before transferring millions of dollars from the drivers of Montgomery County to this company."