[Analysis] Bus Accident Statistics in the United States

In the United States, buses are relied upon to transport large groups of people and carry our children to and from school.  Annually, as many as 700 million people travel by bus.  Passengers, other motorists, and their families have a reasonable expectation that they will safely arrive at their destinations.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

While collisions involving buses make up only a small portion of the total fatal accidents each year, the results are usually tragic.  In fact, the NTSB has found that, per vehicle, busses and other commercial motor vehicles are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than passenger vehicles.

Even when passengers are kept safe, poor sightlines from the vehicle and negligent bus drivers can put pedestrians, cyclists, and passenger vehicle occupants at risk. In fact, historically, only 13 percent of those killed in bus accidents are occupants.

When, where, and how often do buses crash?

At Paulson Coletti,  we’ve represented families who have lost loved ones in bus collisions and we have seen the devastation that a deadly bus accident can bring.  As a service to those affected by or interested in bus safety, we’ve compiled the most comprehensive list of bus accident statistics and information available online.

How Often Do Buses Crash?

On average, there are nearly 60,000 bus accidents each year in the United States.  While most of these collisions result in property damage only, hundreds of people are killed and thousands more are injured. Researchers estimate that as many as 14,000 injuries occur in these crashes.

Year Fatal Bus Crashes Injury Crashes Property Damage Only
1998 288 13,000 40,000
1999 313 14,000 48,000
2000 323 13,000 42,000
2001 289 11,000 42,000
2002 274 13,000 45,000
2003 288 14,000 44,000
2004 276 13,000 39,000
2005 278 12,000 38,000
2006 303 11,000 41,000
2007 280 11,000 45,000
2008 251 11,000 48,000
2009 221 9,000 47,000
2010 247 12,000 42,000
2011 243 13,000 43,000
2012 252 12,000 42,000
2013 282 18,000 48,000
2014 235 11,000 57,000
2015 259 14,000 53,000
2016 231 16,000 51,000
2017 231 15,000 51,000
2018 230 15,000 50,000
2019 231 N/A N/A

 

How many people are killed or injured by busses each year?

From 1998 – 2019, 6,770 people were killed and an estimated 567,000 people were injured in crashes involving bus accidents.

Year Fatalities Injuries
1998 329 30,000
1999 373 36,000
2000 357 29,000
2001 331 25,000
2002 331 30,000
2003 337 31,000
2004 315 29,000
2005 340 23,000
2006 337 21,000
2007 325 24,000
2008 311 24,000
2009 254 20,000
2010 278 27,000
2011 284 24,000
2012 282 23,000
2013 320 38,000
2014 283 22,000
2015 297 24,000
2016 290 35,000
2017 276 25,000
2018 262 27,000
2019 258 N/A

However, most of those killed and injured are not bus occupants.  During this time frame, a little under 10 percent of those killed were passengers on an involved bus, while the remaining deaths were occupants of other vehicles or pedestrians.

[Interactive Map] Fatal Bus Accidents in the U.S.

While the FMCSA provides general incident data for a larger range of years, it merely provides totals.  In order to map data and dive deeper into the issue, we analyzed fatal bus collision data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Which Bus Type is Involved in the most Fatal Collisions?

While fatal crashes involving busses of any kind have fallen sharply since 1975,  some types of busses are more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than others. School buses and transit buses are most likely to be involved in fatal collisions.

From 1975 through 2019, 4,702 school busses and 4,702 transit busses were involved in fatal crashes in the United States.

Year School Bus Motorcoach Transit Bus Van-Based Bus Other Bus Type Bus Type Unknown
1975 130 29 131 18 19
1976 123 30 130 13 23
1977 126 33 123 14 25
1978 143 54 143 14 18
1979 150 37 123 21 16
1980 117 38 150 14 11
1981 110 48 150 20 14
1982 104 37 106 31 11
1983 99 41 105 40 22
1984 119 48 103 33 17
1985 126 29 116 33 33
1986 101 33 99 29 24
1987 132 29 115 46 31
1988 105 31 103 30 18
1989 109 32 120 25 25
1990 112 27 114 19 17
1991 106 39 86 26 17
1992 98 36 113 21 17
1993 112 28 82 21 20
1994 106 23 105 12 12
1995 109 23 101 23 15
1996 124 35 115 32 20
1997 117 37 109 15 19
1998 112 38 115 16 8
1999 139 38 106 19 17
2000 120 40 128 20 17
2001 119 38 104 16 15
2002 95 35 100 26 18
2003 113 26 104 30 18
2004 111 35 85 26 22
2005 111 38 83 34 14
2006 118 33 105 22 27
2007 109 35 113 16 8
2008 116 20 92 12 11
2009 89 38 77 9 8
2010 116 36 84 11 4
2011 98 41 68 25 10 3
2012 102 34 78 30 7 2
2013 114 44 82 28 10 4
2014 91 32 79 9 21 4
2015 99 34 93 14 18 5
2016 88 17 98 6 19 6
2017 73 13 97 31 16 4
2018 85 15 85 26 20 3
2019 89 5 84 46 8