In response to a recent bus accident in Paramus, New Jersey that injured 40 and killed two, lawmakers released a package of bills to make school buses safer and bus drivers more accountable. In an effort to reduce the risk of injuries to children, Bill A-4110 would require New Jersey school buses to use a three-point seat belt system that runs across the torso and over the lap. The bill would require the presence of one school aide for every 15 special needs students on a bus.
Bus accidents can have devastating consequences for anyone involved, but with the potential of a bus accident to cause severe and fatal injuries to children, extra measures must be taken. Paramus school district plans to immediately install the three-point seatbelt system, regardless of whether it becomes a state requirement.
Additionally, the state is looking into other changes which will focus on driver training, accountability, and updated policies.
Supervisor Training Program
Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, Bill A-2436 will require transportation supervisors, who are newly hired or who have less than 11 years of experience in a school transportation setting, to complete the School Transportation Supervisors Program. This program will be offered through Rutgers University and will consist of 8 classes, focusing on:
- routing and scheduling
- transporting students with disabilities
- employee training
- emergency management
- laws and regulations
School Bus Safety and Child Protection Act
The School Bus Safety and Child Protection Act would require all school bus aides and bus drivers for New Jersey districts and non-public schools to pass a complete background check prior to starting employment. The background check will be completed every five years thereafter and results will be sent to the superintendent of the district to which the drivers and aides applied.
This bill would require an immediate suspension of employment if the violations are pending. Once convicted, the employee will be terminated.
Driver Training and Evaluation System Upgrade
The question remains how the bus driver in the Paramus accident was approved to drive the school bus, since his license was suspended 14 times in the past. Additionally, he had multiple moving violations and speeding tickets.
There are over 400 possible offenses that can lead to suspension of a bus driving license. These include parking tickets, reckless driving, and other moving violations. When a bus driver’s license is suspended, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission currently sends the suspension reports for all school bus drivers to the NJ Board of Education.
However, getting the reports to the school districts has been difficult for the NJ Board of Education to handle in a timely manner. New protocols need to be developed for receiving, sorting, and distributing those reports to the school districts.
New Jersey Bus Accident Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP Fight for Families Involved in School Bus Accidents
If you or your child has been injured in a bus accident, please call the New Jersey bus accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP at 732-384-1331 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to fight for maximum compensation for any type of personal injury claim. From our offices located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, and we successfully represent clients throughout the state of New Jersey.