Fatal Bus Accident Statistics – New Mexico
Bus travel, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is one of the safest ways to go. It is inexpensive, which contributes to its popularity. There are over 4,000 registered motor coach companies in the nation. Those who are concerned about safety can look for ratings issued and safety performance measures tracked by the FMCSA. Its ratings include Satisfactory, Conditional (elevated safety risk), and Unsatisfactory (the bus company should not be in operation).
The transit route mileage of buses is nearly 1,445 miles, based on information from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. This includes 53.4 mixed right-of-way miles managed by Las Cruces Area Transit and 263 miles run by Sun Tran of Albuquerque.
Fatal Bus Accidents in the State
The numbers below reflect those of the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which tracks accident deaths per various types of vehicles. Here are the numbers broken down by year.
Traffic crash information for 2009, from the New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT), reveals there were 330 total bus crashes that year, resulting in one fatality and 52 injuries. There were three crashes involving teenagers, with no deaths or injuries, and 12 bus wrecks involving young adults. Also, 17 bus crashes involved senior citizens, injuring two individuals.
The state DOT’s annual report for 2013 listed 309 bus accidents. Two vehicles were in fatal crashes, while 79 resulted in injuries, although 228 collisions resulted in property damage only. In total, 714 people were in bus accidents that year.
Risk Factors in Fatal Bus Incidents
A report published in Accident Analysis & Prevention analyzed major factors such as speed, time, the day of the week, season, surface conditions, driver behavior, and the number of vehicles involved. Bus type and the seating capacity were noted as factors as well. The manner of collision, use of restraint systems, and whether snow or ice were present were factors related to accident severity.
Bus Accidents in the News
Two buses carrying a football team from Texas State University to New Mexico State University collided in November 2016, resulting in six injuries. Although no one on board was killed, an administrator was carried out on a stretcher, and a student videographer suffered a cracked jaw, according to reports. The incident delayed the start of the game in Las Cruces.
There may not be a high rate of bus accident fatalities in recent years, but the state is not immune to historic incidents. In 1988, a Greyhound bus ran off a highway following a rockslide, while en route to Albuquerque on New Mexico 68. Five passengers were killed. Two fatalities occurred on a tour bus that flipped over on U.S. 54 due to icy conditions. The accident also injured 50 other people. Therefore, the potential exists for bus crashes and accidents that occur due to difficult conditions, and overall fatality rates can fluctuate depending on the individual incidents that occur while large numbers of people are being transported.