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Las Cruces school bus drivers want air conditioning as extreme heat grips area

With temperatures ten degrees above normal, the school bus drivers’ union president is worried about the safety of students and drivers in Las Cruces.

“When I get in that bus this afternoon, I have to determine whether I’m putting children at risk,” said Marcos Torres, the president of the Las Cruces Transportation Federation.

The triple digit temperatures have continued three weeks into the school year, potentially endangering children and drivers in buses that don’t have air conditioning.

For students, the average trip lasts around 30 minutes, Torres said. However, some trips can be as long as an hour.

“I have to have an idea of how that might affect me and create an unsafe situation for schoolchildren that I’m transporting,” Torres said.

On Monday afternoon, the temperature in his bus rose to 111 degrees.

“It creates a safety hazard for a driver who is driving around our kids in these buses,” said State Senator Jeff Steinborn, who represents Doña Ana County in the New Mexico Legislature.

State Senator Jeff Steinborn helped introduce a bill that required that new school buses have air conditioning. However, it failed this past legislative session.

“I’m disappointed to say the least,” Steinborn said.

However, he plans to re-introduce the bill this next legislative session.

“I’m going to keep it up, for sure,” he said.

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