Moving Australia


Road Safety and the Bus Industry

“Buses are the safest form of road transport.”

The Facts

Buses are the safest form of road transport.

Between 1989 and 2010 approximately 0.63 per cent of total road fatalities were suffered by bus and coach passengers in Australia.[1]

Of the fatalities related to buses less than one third occurred inside the bus, more than one quarter were suffered by pedestrians and almost 40 per cent were suffered by drivers and passengers in other vehicles and cyclists.[2]

With more than 1.5 billion passenger trips being made on buses every year in Australia, the odds of a bus passenger suffering a fatal accident are approximately one in 150 million.[3]

Between 1989 and 2010 school bus passengers accounted for approximately 0.62 per cent of total road fatalities amongst school aged children.[4]

Of 92 bus related fatalities including school aged children during this period 38 occurred inside the bus.[5]

A 10 per increase in bus patronage would save the Australian economy $100 million in the cost of road crashes.[6]


An Industry Committed to Safety

Following the tragedy of the Kempsey and Grafton bus accidents in 1989 the industry has been at the forefront of initiatives to improve the safety performance of the bus and coach fleet.

Bus Operators have worked closely with Governments, manufacturers, and the travelling public to ensure the safety of passengers is paramount and operating practice reflects this commitment to safety.

Safety measures adopted since 1989 include:

The BIC is in full support of initiatives that will improve the overall safety performance of the bus industry and reduce accidents involving buses or coaches.

More Public Transport Equals Safer Roads

The annual economic cost of road crashes in Australia is estimated at $27 billion per annum.

Road crash rates are reduced by[7]:

The figure below from Todd Litman’s 2010 research indicates that in cities throughout the world, including Australian cities, crash rates are significantly reduced when per capita public transport vehicle kilometres increase.

Figure 3: Traffic Fatalities Versus Per Capita Public Transport Miles Travelled[8]

[1] Bus Industry Confederation, 2011, Seatbelts – BIC Policy Position, Figures drawn from the Australian Transport Safety Database

[2] Ibid.,

[3] Ibid.,

[4] Ibid.,

[5] Ibid.,

[6] CRA International, 2006, Impact on the Australian Economy of Increased Bus Patronage, Kingston, ACT.

[7] Litman, T, 2010. Evaluating  Public Transportation Health Benefits, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, British Columbia.

[8] Ibid.,

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