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Injuries and illness among state and local government bus drivers

February 26, 2015

According to the American Public Transportation Association, people in the United States took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2013. Just over half those trips were on motor buses. An estimated 5,780 state and local government transit and intercity bus drivers suffered injuries on the job in 2013. These injuries required at least one day away from work.

Bus drivers spend almost all of their worktime on the road. Transportation incidents were the most common event that lead to a workplace injury or illness among state and local bus drivers in 2011 and 2013. These incidents accounted for 42 percent of injuries and illnesses in 2013 and 36 percent in 2011. In 2012, transportation incidents accounted for 26 percent of cases that caused bus drivers to miss work, the second most common event that year.

Nonfatal occupational injury and illness cases that required days away from work, by event or exposure, state and local government bus drivers, 2011–2013
Event or exposure 2011 2012 2013
Number of cases Percent distribution Number of cases Percent distribution Number of cases Percent distribution

Total

6,910 100% 7,240 100% 5,780 100%

Transportation incidents

2,520 36 1,860 26 2,440 42

Overexertion and bodily reaction

1,590 23 2,480 34 1,300 22

Falls, slips, and trips

1,410 20 750 10 820 14

Contact with objects and equipment

570 8 840 12 710 12

Violence and other injuries by persons or animals

540 8 650 9 280 5

Exposure to harmful substances or environments

270 4 650 9 230 4

Overexertion and bodily reaction are another common cause of workplace injuries and illnesses for bus drivers. These events include lifting, pulling, twisting, kneeling, and repetitive motion. In 2012, they were the most common event that caused bus drivers to miss work, accounting for 34 percent of cases.

Bus drivers often walk on wet or icy walkways. Falls, slips, and trips accounted for 20 percent of injuries and illnesses that caused bus drivers to miss work in 2011. The percentage of falls, slips, and trips decreased to 10 percent of events in 2012 and rose to 14 percent in 2013.

Violent events and other injuries caused by people or animals led to 8 percent of injuries and illnesses in 2011 that resulted in at least one missed workday. These events accounted for 9 percent of cases in 2012 and 5 percent in 2013.

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. For more information, see “When the wheels on the bus stop going round and round: occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities in public transportation” by Gina F. Dowdell in the Monthly Labor Review (February 2015).

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Injuries and illness among state and local government bus drivers on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/injuries-and-illness-among-state-and-local-government-bus-drivers.htm (visited June 05, 2020).

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