Prioritizing bus safety

Recent accidents cause concern for better bus safety precautions


Public transportation is very important in today’s world. From school, sporting events and simply getting from place to place, public transportation, such as buses, is a very useful resource to have access to. While buses are a great resource for getting around, many people don’t feel safe while riding in these large, powerful machines. 

In 2018, a bus carrying a junior hockey team, the Humboldt Broncos, had a devastating crash. This tragic event left 16 people dead and 13 people injured. With the amount of fatalities caused by this accident, it is imminent that bus safety measures need to be increased. This was even in a coach bus, which is arguably safer than a traditional school bus. 

More recently, another bus carrying a hockey team crashed on Nov. 12. This bus carried members of the St. Ignatius High School hockey team. After a terrifying collision, three passengers of the bus were sent to the hospital in critical condition. All of the players who were injured were teenagers between 14 and 17 years of age. With so many young people aboard this bus, it is the responsibility of the person behind the wheel to be as safe and cautious as possible when on the road. 

There have also been some bus accidents that have happened locally in Beaver County. One of these accidents involved a school bus transporting students who attend Lincoln Park High School. This incident led to the death of a student and the bus driver, as well as the injury of four other students.

“In 4th grade, my school bus got into an accident, and I got hurt and was rushed to the hospital. This made me fear getting on buses for a while. I think that [the injuries] could have been avoided had the bus been more safe,” said junior John Hartley. 

This shows students’ fear of being on buses and their desire for them to be safer. Bus companies must come up with ways to provide better security for passengers in their vehicles. This could be done by providing, and even mandating, seatbelts on all forms of public transportation. The reason seatbelts are not on most school buses is for easy escape in the event of an emergency. However, this could be solved by adding something like a seatbelt cutter for emergencies. Bus drivers also have to take responsibility for keeping their passengers safe. Drivers have the lives of many people, often children, in their hands, and some of them do not take this responsibility seriously.

“I do not feel safe on the bus. Especially because the bus driver sometimes drives too fast, putting our lives in danger,” said junior Matthew Ordean.

It is completely unacceptable that a student should ever feel unsafe on their daily commute to school due to the recklessness of a driver who is meant to protect the passengers on their bus. While most bus drivers do take their job very seriously, there are some that do not proceed with caution when carrying passengers, who have to trust the driver with their lives. Bus companies should take more consideration of who they hire, as well as keep better tabs on their current employees. While this is likely very difficult currently due to shortages in bus drivers, it is important for companies to perform more in-depth background checks and keep track of their drivers.