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High gas prices, expensive insurance costs, pricy car repairs and concern for the environment are driving more people to utilize public transportation in their day-to-day lives. While public transportation risk varies by the mode of travel — and remains overall much safer than private passenger vehicles — the National Safety Council reports transit-related incidents account for one of every seven preventable injury-related deaths. As such, anyone who utilizes public transportation must be aware of the risks and how to protect themselves.

The Springfield, Missouri Police Department offers the following safety tips for using public transportation:

  • Plan your trip ahead of time and be prepared with information about times, locations and the amount of money you need to get to your destination.
  • Let a friend or family member know your travel route and schedule. Call them when you leave and when you arrive at your destination. They'll be aware there could be an issue if they don't hear from you as expected.
  • Keep the exact amount of money you need for your fare handy so you aren't flashing any extra cash or fumbling with your money in public.
  • Wait for and exit transportation in well-lit, busy areas.
  • Choose an aisle seat to give yourself a better overall vantage point of the vehicle and other passengers.
  • Sit near the driver or operator if possible, but avoid sitting next to the door as thieves may try snatching items from people in those seats as they exit.
  • Avoid falling asleep or being otherwise distracted to stop yourself from becoming an easy target.
  • Keep all personal items in your lap or between your feet rather than laying them on an empty seat where they are less secure.
  • Be aware of noisy arguments between passengers or other commotion, as it can serve as a distraction while criminals make their move.

Data analysis from H&P Law showed that the average across all states is 55.2 public transportation incidents (combined injuries, collisions and fatalities) per 100,000 people, but there are vast fluctuations state-to-state.

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Brittney Meredith-Miller

Brittney Meredith-Miller is assistant editor of PropertyCasualty360.com. She can be reached at [email protected].