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.
Following that accident, state lawmakers have begun a push to install three-point seat belts on all newly purchased busses. The newly proposed safety features are similar to those that are in most passenger cars. Lawmakers hope that, with the installation of these new seat belts, future school bus accidents will be less likely to result in serious injury or death.
In the wake of the fatal accident, one news agency reported that the NTSB is now recommending all newly manufactured school busses come equipped with the “tried and true” three-point seat belts. Given that this recommendation was only made last month, most states – including New Mexico – have not yet had an opportunity to weigh in the topic. Thus, it remains to be seen if states such as New Mexico, that previously relied on NTSB data to justify not installing seat belts on school busses, will follow the lead of the NTSB and begin to install three-point seat belts on all newly purchased school busses.
Has Your Child Been in a New Mexico School Bus Accident?
If you have a child who has recently been injured in a New Mexico school bus accident, you should consult with one of the dedicated New Mexico personal injury lawyers at the Fine Law Firm. At the Fine Law Firm, we represent injury victims and their families in all types of New Mexico personal injury lawsuits, including bus accidents and cases brought against government entities. We are well versed in the complex procedural requirements of these lawsuits, and are prepared to use our knowledge of the governing legal principles to aggressively fight for your right to recover. To learn more, call 505-889-FINE to schedule a free consultation.
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Woman Awarded $20 Million After Husband Was Struck by Oncoming Train, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 6, 2018.
Car Comes Disconnected from Tow Truck, Crushing City Worker, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 20, 2018.