City Councilman Proposes Legislation to Better Track School Bus Crashes

By Jill Colvin on December 13, 2012 7:11am 

NEW YORK CITY — New laws that would force the Department of Education to disclose extensive information about school bus crashes are being demanded by a city councilman after DNAinfo New York reported there were more than 1,700 accidents last year.

Robert Jackson, chairman of the council's Education Committee, is planning to introduce a measure that would force the DOE to provide the council with data about exactly how many accidents occur each month, how many people are injured in those accidents and how many of the injured are school-aged kids.

“There is not continuous statistical reporting as to the number of accidents, how many per month, the extent of the injuries, for students versus adults, pedestrians," said Jackson.

“I think that those types of statistics would be good to have.”

Currently, the DOE keeps only limited records on school bus accidents and injuries, omitting basic data such as how many of those injured every year are students and how many are other passengers, pedestrians or drivers.

The department also does not provide information about whether accidents involve special-needs or general education students, because it does not keep track of what type of buses are involved.

Jackson said he was surprised by the apparent lack of information. He added that the DOE should be disclosing the date, time and circumstances of all major accidents so that observers can see, for instance, if accidents are happening more frequently during the morning rush or during after-school trips.

Further, Jackson said the data could show if accidents were more likely to occur in the winter or summer, demonstrating if buses are performing up to par in inclement weather.

DOE spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said the department does not comment on pending legislation.

DNAinfo.com New York revealed Monday that the 1,700 accidents last year resulted in more than 900 injuries.

Jackson said he was especially frustrated by the lack of data on the extent of the injuries.

“If all of the injuries are major injuries," he said, "that’s a problem."

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