The Relative Risks of School Travel

Each year across the United States approximately 800 school-aged children are killed in motor vehicle crashes during normal school travel hours - defined to be 6 a.m. to 8:59 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4:59 p.m.

  • This figure represents about 14 percent of the 5,600 child deaths that occur annually on U.S. roadways
  • Of these 800 deaths, about 20 (or 2 percent) are school-bus related — 5 are school bus passengers on the bus and 15 are pedestrians approaching or leaving the bus
  • The other 98 percent of school-aged deaths occur in passenger vehicles or to pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists
  • At the same time, approximately 152,000 school-aged children are non-fatally injured during normal school travel hours each year
  • More than 80 percent of these nonfatal injuries occur in passenger vehicles, 4 percent are school-bus related, 11 percent occur to pedestrians and bicyclists and fewer than 1 percent are to passengers in other buses
  • More than half of both fatalities and injuries occur when a teenager is driving a passenger vehicle
  • The highest fatality rate and injury rates (taking into account the number of student trips taken) are associated with teen drivers


The Relative Risks of School Travel. Robertson, D.H. et. al. Washington, DC. Transportation Research Board, 2002