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Advocating for Bus Safety

By Miranda Hotalen

“This happened to me”

In May 2017, my school went to a music competition in Williamsburg, Virginia. After a long day of competition, the other students and I were getting ready to get off the bus and go into the hotel for dinner. It was late, it had been a long day, and all of us were very hungry. I was in the aisle of the tour bus, and I took a step back so my friend could get out of her seat. I thought the aisle was longer, but it was not, so I fell down the stairs backward. I injured my ribs on the left side and scraped one of my legs pretty badly. I went to Busch Gardens the next day with my school, and unfortunately, I could not ride any of the rides because I was in so much pain. After the awards ceremony, the other students and I had a six-hour ride home on the tour bus.

Unfortunately, two years later in May 2019, I was getting off the bus and fell down the bus stairs again! My friends said it was like watching me fall in slow motion. I ended up hurting my left foot and scraped my right leg. I was taken to the nurse’s office where I was given ice. My dad came to pick me up early, and I had to walk from the nurse’s office to the main office. When you are not injured, it is not that far of a walk, but when you are injured, it felt like the farthest I had ever had to walk. I was in so much pain. When my dad arrived, he started to walk to the car until I told him that I needed his help to get to the car. My parents and I went to urgent care where I got x-rays of my foot. The urgent care doctor told me that I had sprained three out of the four main ligaments in my foot. He was impressed at how badly I injured my foot. I was on crutches for about two to four weeks, and then I was in a boot for around four to six weeks. 

“My story is not unique, here’s the problem”

A public health problem that relates to my story is transportation and injury prevention. Since there are many forms of transportation, injuries can be very common. Not only for people using them but for the workers as well. Depending on the situation, the issue could be mild or it could be severe. Anyone could experience this, but relating to my case, it is mostly children and elderly folks. In Georgia, there was a child that fell down the bus stairs and sprained her ankle. Since it was a rainy day, she slipped and fell (1). There was a puddle on the stairs that she noticed after she fell (1).

Over in the United Kingdom, an older woman fell down the stairs on a double-decker bus. The driver began to pull away because he did not realize this woman was still on the bus (2). She was found on the ground bruised and with an injured shoulder (2). Across the pond in New Zealand, there was another double-decker bus fall but this time more severe. An older man fell down the stairs and had internal bleeding, as well as injuring his back and leg. He required surgery for his injuries (3). 

“Here is a non-profit working to solve the problem” 

A non-profit organization working to solve the problem is the American School Bus Council. The American School Bus Council is a group dedicated to promoting equality and school bus safety. Their goal is to inform the general public about the crucial advantages of the yellow bus for equitable access, safety, and the environment (4). They offer education on bus safety, both on and off the bus. The American School Bus Council is a firm supporter of giving the yellow bus the credit it deserves for being dependable and diligent (4). They also support the idea that the person operating the vehicle should be providing safe transportation (4). 

“Here’s what you (the reader) can do to help, right now”

One thing that you could do right now is sign a petition to make buses more accessible by doing away with stairs. By using a ramp and hydraulics, anybody can get on and off the bus without the fear of falling. This would also make it easier for children and elderly folks to get on and off the bus. 

References

(1) Child slipped off school bus stairs… Injury Claim Coach. (2018, August 1). Retrieved 

October16, 

2022, fromhttps://www.injuryclaimcoach.com/questions/child-slipped-off-school-bus-stairs.html 

(2) Endley, B. (2012, May 10). Woman to sue bus company over stairs fall. Watford Observer. 

Retrieved October 16, 2022, from https://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/news/9698940.woman-to-sue-bus-company-over-stairs-fall/

(4) Home. American School Bus Council. (2020, August 14). Retrieved September 18, 2022, 

from http://www.americanschoolbuscouncil.org/ 

(3) Orsman, B. (2020, September 23). Fatal fall, several injuries prompts safety improvements 

for buses. NZ Herald. Retrieved October 16, 2022, from https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/people-falling-down-stairs-in-double-decker-buses-in-auckland-prompts-safety-improvements/ONGF5VHTDUFQ4UF5JUD4AXEEJY/ 

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