Although school busses are known as a relatively safe means of transportation, New Mexico school bus accidents are still a major concern for parents. And despite the clear research that seat belts help save lives in the event of a serious accident, only six states in the country require school busses be equipped with seatbelts. New Mexico is not among those states.
In New Mexico, school busses are not required to have seatbelts. The state’s rationale is based on a 1987 study from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) claiming that most fatalities in school bus accidents would not have been prevented had the bus been equipped with seat belts. However, after a fatal school bus accident earlier this year, the NTSB seems to be reversing its previous position.
In May of this year, a New Jersey school bus was struck by a dump truck as the driver of the bus attempted to make a U-turn on the highway across three lanes of traffic. According to a local news report, when the truck collided with the bus, it ripped the bus from its frame. As a result of the accident, one student and one teacher were killed and dozens of others were injured. At the time, New Jersey was one of the six states that required lap belts on school busses.