BU students may have survived NZ crash with seat belts

Investigators have concluded that three Boston University students who were killed in a motor vehicle accident while studying abroad in New Zealand last year might have survived the accident if they had been wearing seatbelts. The somber announcement only furthers the fact that seat belts save lives in motor vehicle accidents in Massachusetts and everywhere else in the world.

The fatal accident occurred last May when a minivan carrying several students left the road and rolled while on the way to a scenic hike. The three students who were killed were not wearing seat belts and were ejected from the van, investigators said. Four other students in the van who were wearing seat belts suffered only minor injuries in the accident, including the driver, why pleaded guilty last year to careless driving.

Investigators later determined that the driver of the van had become distracted and drove onto one side of the road before over-correcting, which caused the van to flip and roll four times. Police determined that drugs or alcohol were not factors in the crash, and they do not believe that the driver had been speeding at the time of the accident. They added that this was the driver’s first time driving in New Zealand and his first time operating a minivan.

One of the students who was injured in the crash was a Massachusetts resident who has been working hard to recover from the brain injuries she sustained in the accident. The young woman returned to the BU campus in January to audit an accounting class after undergoing cranial surgery.

Not only does this tragic event relay the importance of seat belt usage, it also reminds drivers of the dangers of distracted driving, particularly on unfamiliar roads.

Source: WANDtv.com, “Seatbelts could have prevented 3 Boston U deaths,” June 12, 2013