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Should you worry about sending your child on a school bus?

If you are one of the millions of parents who send their children to school each day on a school bus, then the fatal school bus accident in Houston last month probably has you concerned.

The tragic crash occurred when a bus carrying four high school students was struck by another vehicle and sent off of the road before flipping over a guardrail. A 17-year-old girl died at the scene of the accident, and a 14-year-old girl later died at the hospital. The two other students on the bus were seriously injured, local news reported.

In the wake of the accident, many parents couldn't help but to wonder if their children were safe on school buses and just how often these accidents occur.

How common are serious school bus accidents?

According to a recent USA TODAY report, federal data suggests that school bus accidents are rare, especially those resulting in fatalities.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that about 134 people are killed in school-vehicle-related accidents each year, and only 8 percent of those deaths involve buses.

The USA TODAY article even went so far as to suggest that students become safer after stepping foot on a school bus because they are much more likely to be involved in an accident while walking, biking or riding in a car.

However, another recent report from the Houston Chronicle suggests that it's hard to say how many school bus accidents occur in Texas each year. While school districts are required by law to inform the Texas Education Agency about school bus accidents and injuries every year, there are discrepancies in the data.

For example, the agency's latest data shows that there were 2,288 school bus accidents in the 2013-14 school year, but a higher number was reported by the districts on how many of those buses had seat belts.

The confusing data angered a state senator who asked how lawmakers are supposed to establish effective rules and regulations if accurate data is not available.

What action can parents take after a school bus accident?

Just like after any serious motor vehicle accident, parents of students who were involved would be wise to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer for advice on how to proceed. Your lawyer can help you get to the bottom of what happened and demand fair compensation on your child's behalf.

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