N.J. Bills Would Help Fund Electric School Buses, Crack Down on Road Rage Offenses

Sadiah Thompson
Posted on May 23, 2019

TRENTON, N.J. — Lawmakers here have introduced two new bills that would provide funding for electric school buses and establish tougher penalties for road rage offenses involving school buses.

Senate Bill 2436, introduced by Sen. Patrick J. Diegnan, would require the State Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in partnership with the State Department of Transportation, State Department of Education, and New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, to develop and implement a three-year electric school bus pilot program that would assess the operational reliability and cost effectiveness of replacing diesel-powered school buses with electric school buses.

Under the bill, the BPU would award grants of up to $10 million in total from the state’s societal benefits charge for at least three school districts to purchase electric buses and install charging infrastructure. The bill would require the BPU to select at least one district from the northern, central, and southern regions of the state.

The bill also states that selected school districts would need to submit periodic reports to the BPU detailing the cost of operation for their electric buses and any reliability issues they have.

If Senate Bill 2436 is passed, the pilot program would start no later than six months after the bill’s effective date.

The bill is currently awaiting review from the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, according to the state legislature’s website.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 3703, sponsored by Sen. Robert W. Singer, would increase penalties for road rage crimes involving school buses.

Singer introduced the bill last week after reading a report of a road rage incident involving a school bus in Howell, New Jersey, on April 16, in which a motorist punched a window on the bus with students on board, according to

Under current state law, criminal mischief is described as purposely damaging tangible property of another, and is categorized by the monetary value of the damage caused.

Senate Bill 3703 would upgrade the offense of criminal mischief to a crime of the fourth degree if a person damages or impairs the operation of a school bus in the presence of a student under 16 years of age. The offense would be punishable by up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

Additionally, under the bill, if a student is injured during the road rage incident, the offense would be a crime of the third degree, punishable by three to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $15,000.

“Even in a high-traffic state like New Jersey, it is hard to believe that any driver could get so angry that they would put innocent children in harm’s way,” Singer told the news source. “There is no excuse for attacking a school bus filled with kids. What happened in Howell is every parent’s worst nightmare. We need to take action now, so that drivers know that this type of reckless behavior is completely unacceptable.”

Senate Bill 3703 is currently awaiting review by the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to the state legislature’s website.

Related Topics: electric bus, legal issues, New Jersey

Sadiah Thompson Assistant Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories

School Bus Songs: ‘Stop When the Arm is Out’

Michigan City (Ind.) Area Schools’ transportation department, also known as the “stop-arm singers,” recreate The Supremes’ famous “Stop in the Name of Love” — urging motorists to think twice before illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Heidi King’s last day as acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be Aug. 31. Photo courtesy NHTSA

NHTSA Acting Administrator to Step Down

Heidi King’s last day as acting administrator of the regulatory agency will be Aug. 31. She will be replaced by James Owens, the U.S. DOT’s deputy general counsel.


School Bus Songs: 'Washboard Road'

Jay Heilman, a bus driver with Pasco County (Fla.) Schools, is joined by other members of the district’s transportation staff as he details the trials and triumphs of pupil transportation in his own catchy version of Lil Nas X's “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.

File photo courtesy School Bus Safety Co.

Shake-Ups Prompt a Closer Look at Safety

Although we all agree that the motoring public needs to be more cautious, bus drivers can also help mitigate the number of dangerous incidents by following safe and consistent loading and unloading practices.

When unloading, do not step off the bus before sticking out the hand-held stop sign and checking both directions alongside the bus for hazards.

PHOTOS: California Loading, Unloading Safety

Sabine Konrad, driver instructor for Visalia Unified School District, demonstrates some key steps designed to boost safety when crossing students in the loading and unloading process use by the state.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!