Type of Motor Carrier and Driver History in Fatal Bus Crashes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - school bus, place - north america, planning - safety/accidents


fatal accidents, buses, driver error, United States


The Buses Involved in Fatal Accidents (BIFA) project collects detailed information about buses involved in fatal crashes. The BIFA project is supported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Using BIFA data for 1999 to 2005, this study focuses on factors associated with driver errors in fatal bus crashes involving different bus operator types. Five different carrier types were identified: school, transit, intercity, charter or tour, and other. Many factors were associated with driver error, including bus operation type, age, sex, hours driving, trip type, method of compensation, and previous driving record. A logistic regression model was used to model the probability of driver error. Bus operation type, previous violations, and previous crashes were significant parameters in the model. Prior driver violations and crashes both increased the probability that a driver would have been coded with an error in the crash. Transit and school bus drivers were the least likely to have contributed to the crash. Intercity operations were associated with an increase in the odds by 1.9 times, with a 95% confidence interval from 1.1 to 3.2 times. Charter and other bus operations were associated with significantly higher odds of driver error. The odds ratio for charter or tour bus operations was 1.7 (range of 1.2 to 2.4), and for other buses it was 2.6 (range of 1.9 to 3.6). The other factors were not significant.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, copyright remains with them.