How safe is bus transportation?

  • School bus transportation is one of the safest forms of transportation in the United States. Every year, approximately 440,000 public school buses travel approximately 4.3 billion miles to transport 23.5 million children to and from school and school-related activities. Between 1988 and 1998, there were about 416,000 fatal traffic crashes in the United States. Of those, only 1,265 were classified as school bus-related. (NHTSA)

    Riding an Alabama school bus you are much less likely to be involved in a collision than riding in any other type of vehicle.  If involved in a collision, you are much less likely to suffer an injury.  School buses are involved in only 3/10 of one percent of all Alabama accidents.  Alabama school bus drivers are among the best trained in the United States. State law requires all drivers to hold a Commercial Driver License (CDL) and an Alabama School Bus Driver Certificate. State and Federal laws require background checks and random drug testing for bus drivers.  Alabama school buses are among the safest and best maintained in the country. Under Alabama law, school buses are inspected monthly by local system personnel and annually by state school bus inspectors employed by the Alabama Department of Education. 

    Nationally, a school bus is 172 times safer than a passenger car, 8 times safer than a passenger train or scheduled airline, and 4 times safer than a transit bus.


    • Jackilyn Barefield

    • Transportation Director


    • (334) 774-5197 ext. 3505

What can motorists do to help ensure the safety of students riding school buses?

  • For 23.5 million students nationwide and 374,000 Alabama students, the school day begins and ends with a trip on a school bus. Students' greatest risk is not in riding the bus, but in getting to the bus or entering or leaving it. Motorists need to be aware of the risks. (NHTSA) Follow these safety steps:  When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school. When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch for children traveling to school. They are unpredictable in their actions, and it is your responsibility to anticipate and react to what they might do. Drive slowly. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood. Watch for children playing and gathering near school bus stops. Be alert. Children arriving late for a school bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic. Never pass on the right side of a school bus where children enter or exit. This is illegal. Learn the flashing light system that school bus drivers use to alert motorists about stopping: Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop and load or unload children. Motorists need to slow down and prepare to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm mean the bus has stopped and children are boarding or exiting the bus. Motorists must come to a complete stop a safe distance from the bus and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the stop arm is retracted, and the bus begins moving before they start driving again.

Last Modified on January 18, 2023