HOUSE BILL 161
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2024
Cathrynn N. Brown and Jenifer Jones
RELATING TO EDUCATION; REQUIRING CERTAIN SCHOOL BUSES PURCHASED ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2025 TO HAVE AIR CONDITIONING AND SEAT BELTS; PROVIDING FOR THE CALCULATION OF SCHOOL BUS SEATING CAPACITY; REQUIRING TRAINING.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read:
"[NEW MATERIAL] SCHOOL BUS STANDARDS--AIR CONDITIONING--SEATING CAPACITY--RULES.--
A. The department shall adopt rules to ensure that all school buses purchased on or after July 1, 2025, whether school district-owned or contractor-owned, shall be equipped with:
(1) air conditioning if they are operated in school districts in which temperatures are regularly high enough to pose a risk to students riding in a school bus without air conditioning; and
(2) seat belts for all passengers; provided that the owner or operator of a school bus shall not be liable for injuries arising out of a passenger's failure to use a seat belt.
B. In determining the seating capacity of school buses used for the transportation of school children when the buses are owned and operated by a school district or privately owned and operated under contract with a school district, the department shall adopt rules providing that seating shall not exceed:
(1) three students, when the combined seated width of those students is more than the actual width of the seat; and
(2) two students, when the combined seated
width of those students is more than the actual width of the seat.
C. The department shall ensure that all school bus drivers receive training that includes standardized training in the determination of the legal capacity when loading children and the procedure for reporting an overload condition."
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