School bus crash rates on routine and nonroutine routes

Elizabeth O'Neal, Marizen Ramirez, Cara Hamann, Tracy Young, Mary Stahlhut, Corinne Peek-Asa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Although prior research has established that school buses are a safe form of transportation, crashes can produce catastrophic consequences. School buses have 2 types of routes: predictable, routine routes that take children to and from school and less predictable, nonroutine routes for school events. No studies have examined school bus crash incidence and characteristics by these route types. METHODS: School bus crashes were identified from the Iowa Department of Transportation Crash Database from mid-2005 through mid-2010. Crash reports did not identify whether the bus was on a routine or nonroutine route, so a protocol to assign these based on day and time was developed. Bus mileage was provided by the Iowa Department of Education. RESULTS: The school bus crash rate was 2.1 times higher on nonroutine routes than on routine routes (95% CI = 1.8-2.3). Most crashes involved an improper action by the driver of another vehicle. In crashes attributed to improper actions of school buses, failure to yield the right-of-way and disregarding traffic signs were more common on routine routes, while losing control, speeding, reckless, or aggressive driving were more common on nonroutine routes. CONCLUSIONS: School bus crashes are more likely to occur on nonroutine routes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-580
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Child and adolescent health
  • Injury prevention
  • Public health
  • School bus crashes


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