TRENTON, N.J. — Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law on Thursday three bills that aim to bolster school bus safety.
The legislation that Murphy signed makes the following requirements law:
• A-4224 appropriates $250,000 for a required study of safety of school bus passengers in certain emergency situations, including school bus accidents. The study will also examine safety technologies, and oversight of school bus operations. The law also requires a that report on the study be sent to the governor and legislature.
• A-2436 requires school district transportation supervisors with less than 11 years of experience as a school transportation supervisor to take a certification program that includes courses that cover statutes and regulations that govern school transportation operations.
• S-2914 requires the suspension of a school bus endorsement on the driver’s license of a driver for 90 days after the date of the last conviction if the driver is convicted of three or more motor vehicle moving violations in a three-year period or accumulates six or more motor vehicle penalty points. The school bus driver's employer is to be notified immediately that the driver’s school bus endorsement has been suspended.
As School Bus Fleet previously reported, Murphy signed four other school bus safety bills into law in December. Those laws address federal regulations compliance, proof of physical fitness, regular safety training, and communication about drivers with suspended or revoked licenses.
Additionally, in August, the state changed its law on seat belts, requiring lap-shoulder belts instead of lap belts, as previously required, on all school buses.
The laws were prompted by the Paramus East Brook Middle School bus crash, which killed a teacher and a student on May 17. As previously reported, the bus driver involved in the crash, Hudy Muldrow Sr., 77, was apparently attempting to make a U-turn. He was charged with two counts of reckless vehicular homicide/death by auto.
Murphy said on his Facebook page that he is “proud to sign a school bus safety bill today in honor of Miranda Vargas, who lost her life in a tragic bus crash last year in Mt. Olive at age ten. School bus drivers will see their bus endorsements suspended if they exceed a certain number of moving violations within a 3-year period.”
View the Facebook post below.