Should New Mexico’s School Buses Have Seatbelts?

Albuquerque, NM- New Mexico don’t have laws making seatbelts mandatory on school buses. It’s one of 44 states without such a law. Some parents and lawmakers wonder if it’s safer for their children to buckle up on their daily rides on the school bus.

School Buses and Safety Belts

School bus accidents are rare and aren’t typically fatal for school children, but some tragic instances that stand out. Such instances also make parents and safety advocates question if school buses should be outfitted with seatbelts.

Back in 1999, one city council member got legislation passed that would have made seat belts mandatory on public school buses, but Albuquerque’s mayor at the time vetoed the measure, KOB reports. The law has not changed, and the cost of forcing school districts across New Mexico to retrofit thousands of school buses would be prohibitive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that just six children a year are killed in school bus accidents. In most bus accidents, including those involving city transport, school, and tour buses, the fatalities are typically the occupants of other vehicles.

Since fatal school bus crashes are uncommon, there is speculation among city and state lawmakers if it is cost-effective to make seat belts mandatory on school buses. For Albuquerque, legislation making seat belts mandatory would cost the city approximately $3 million according to KOB 4 News. That equates to an average of $7,000 for each of the city’s 400 buses.

Currently, there are no federal regulations requiring seat belts on school buses because the big yellow buses most children ride in are engineered for safety. The seats are designed to absorb impact from bodies and objects and are placed close together to keep children in place in the event of a crash, so National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Until recently, the NHTSA did not think it was necessary to make seatbelts mandatory. That notion changed after a school bus crash in Tennessee that killed six children and injured 31, according to PBS.  Now the NTSB and the NHTSA recommend school buses We are a long way from any legislation being passed, but it’s only a matter of time before seatbelts will be mandatory across the U.S.

A Bus Accident Lawyer Can Overcome the Challenges of Your Claim

If you are hurt in a bus accident and want to recover compensation, you may face a few challenges. In most cases, to recover compensation for a bus crash, you will be up against a municipal or state government agency. There are different filing requirements for claims against a government entity. Your claim will be unsuccessful if you don’t meet those criteria. The bus accident attorneys in Albuquerque know what filing requirements you must meet and will make sure your case stays on track. has a team of knowledgeable and skilled attorneys who will assist you with your bus accident claim. Call and arrange a case evaluation with a bus crash lawyer today.