School Bus Collision Summary, Canada 1989-1997: Results

The sample represented 42 cases involving 567 students. Five bus occupants were fatally injured, two due to a side impact by a dump truck, one as a result of an external object penetrating the occupant compartment, and two in a collision-induced fire. Twelve children who had disembarked from their buses were killed, 11 being run over by the bus, and 1 who was struck by a vehicle passing the bus.

The collisions involved 8 rollover incidents, 10 frontal impacts, 9 rear impacts, 5 right side impacts and 5 left side impacts. There were two vehicle fires, and a single case of occupant ejection. This situation is summarized in Table 1 Appendix "A".

Numerical Scale

AIS Category
0 No Injury
1 Minor
2 Moderate
3 Serious
4 Severe
5 Critical
6 Maximum
9 Unknown

The injury results are presented in Table 2, Injuries to Occupants and Table 3, Injuries to Pedestrians in Appendix A. In reporting injuries The Maximum Abbreviated Injury Scale [5] was used in the case reports for the incidents except where MAIS 6 was concerned. This rating system reports injuries by a numerical scale (shown above).

The scale relates to injury and it is quite possible for a death to occur from a non-codeable injury such as that resulting from smoke inhalation. For clarity, therefore, in the tables found in Appendix A, AIS 1 to 5 is as in the table shown here, but AIS 6 is replaced with a listing of fatalities. If an AIS 1 through 51 injury results in a fatality, it appears in the column for fatalities.


Non-complying bus

One type of collision merits special mention. It is possible for school children to be transported in vehicles which do not meet the school bus standards. These buses are often used to transport school sports teams to events either during or after school hours. In two cases not included in the tables, students were injured in buses which did not meet the standards.

Injuries were definitely increased by the presence of overhead racks which would not meet the requirements for head protection.

No changes to the school bus safety standards for new vehicles will improve the level of safety that non-complying buses provide school children.

The provincial/territorial authorities and school boards should be encouraged not to use vehicles that do not meet the safety standards for school buses in order to transport children.



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