NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – State lawmakers met to discuss school bus safety in the wake of two crashes involving school buses this year. In February, a street racer crashed into an Albuquerque Public Schools bus causing it to roll with kids inside. In March, a similar crash happened in Española.

A major focus was on whether seat belts should be required in buses. Lawmakers heard from officials with the Public Education Department and APS who spoke about the pros and cons of requiring seat belts. One concern was the added responsibility on bus drivers. They also talked about who would be liable if a crash happened and a student was not wearing a seat belt even if they were told they had to.

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School officials told lawmakers they will also have to decide whether to require seat belts on new buses moving forward or require existing buses to be retrofitted with them. They say it could cost $8,000 per new bus on a 72-passenger bus and retrofitting could cost even more, about $13,000 per bus.

The committee also discussed other safety measures like adding cameras to buses, bringing in new technology, and installing air conditioning.