A bill to be introduced in the U.S. Congress by Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., John Faso, R-N.Y., aims to make it harder for individuals with motor vehicle violations to drive school buses.
The Paramus, New Jersey school board voted to require its buses to be equipped with shoulder-restraint-style (three point) seat belts for buses it is planning to purchase, for an extra $5,300 per bus. The board also said it will request bids for retrofitting all of its current buses with the safer-style belts, northjersey.com reported.
Hudy Muldrow, Sr., the New Jersey school bus driver who was allegedly responsible for the crash between his bus and a dump truck that killed a teacher and a student, has been charged with two counts of reckless vehicular homicide, even as seat belt efforts are renewed.
The National Transportation Safety Board recommended adding collision avoidance systems and lap-shoulder seat belts to all new large school buses during a meeting held to examine the causes of two fatal 2016 school bus crashes, one in Baltimore, Md. and the other in Chattanooga, Tenn.
UPDATE — JUNE 27 — The state senate in New Jersey has unanimously passed (38-0) its lap and shoulder restraint school bus bill and sent it on to Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday, June 25. He is likely to sign the bill in the wake of the recent fatal NJ school bus crash. “If Murphy signs the bill, all school buses must be manufactured with shoulder restraints, in addition to the lap belts the state already requires, within 180 days of the bill's enactment,” reported the Daily Record.
The bill was originally introduced five years ago after another school bus crash. Sen. Sam Thompson, R-Old Bridge, the bill’s author, said, “When this measure is signed into law, students riding a bus will finally have access to the same lap and shoulder seat belts that we trust to protect them in their family cars.”
Paramus Public Schools in N.J. issued a statement on last week’s fatal crash involving one of its school buses that was engaged in a field trip and a dump truck.