Over 2 million students in New York rely on the state’s nearly 50,000 school buses to get to school on time. But what many people don’t realize is that the air pollution inside of a diesel bus can be as much as 12 times higher than the air outside. When a diesel or gasoline school bus is in motion, it emits pollutants from its tailpipe, which tend to rise and disperse. However, when a school bus stops at a traffic signal, is stuck in traffic, or pauses to pick up and drop off students, the tailpipe emissions can drift back into the cabin and remain there, posing a health risk to students.

The kids and drivers on those buses are breathing in dirty air twice a day, five days a week, and the impacts are clear. Asthma rates in New York have tripled in the past three decades, affecting 315,000 kids. 

Asthma is the leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and school absenteeism. This affects learning outcomes, earning potential, and long-term health. For these children, the impact of breathing in toxic air on our school buses will reverberate throughout their lifetime.