The school bus that crashed in Taranaki yesterday, killing the driver, is the same make as two other buses that have crashed in the past three weeks.

However, the Mitsubishi Fuso bus in yesterday's crash was a "totally different" type of vehicle according to Tranzit Coachlines managing director Paul Snelgrove.

"It's a horrible coincidence, that's all it is," he told Stuff.

But the bus was larger than the other buses involved in the previous crashes, he said.


A Mitsubishi Fuso was also involved in the death of Hannah Teresa Francis, 11, who died after the Ruapehu Alpine Lifts bus she was travelling in with her father and stepbrother crashed just after 2.30pm on the afternoon of July 28.

Last week, multiple people suffered injuries after a bus - also a Fuso - carrying 19 people crashed and rolled onto its side in Manawatu.

Last week the Herald revealed the Fuso bus that crashed in Manawatu had failed its warrant of fitness checks eight times since 2006 - most recently in 2013, according to vehicle records.

Meanwhile, motoring commentator Clive Wilson says buses travelling over 50km/h on highways should require all occupants to wear seatbelts to improve safety in response to the three crashes.

The call followed the death of the school bus driver who was killed after the vehicle he was driving left the road and crashed into a ditch on State Highway 3 in Inglewood, Taranaki, yesterday. Ten children were also injured.

Wilson, the editor of car review website, is calling on the Government to improve safety measures after three "unacceptable" serious bus crashes in three weeks.

"There have been two deaths and multiple serious injuries. There's a strong chance these injuries and deaths would not have occurred in Germany, because all buses must have seatbelts and all occupants must wear them," Wilson said.

"The Government needs to act to ensure that this lifesaving technology is fitted to all new buses. The Government also needs to require all buses that travel more than 50km/h to be fitted with seatbelts."


Seatbelts could be easily retrofitted to most buses, although older buses may need to be strengthened, Wilson said.

"Compared to cars, buses are actually a very safe way of travelling. At low speeds, such as around town, it's not practical to require occupants to wear seatbelts.

"However, buses that travel our highways need to protect their occupants in the event of a collision.

"New Zealand's roads are particularly dangerous for buses, because they're often narrow and winding; a perfect setup for a rollover accident."