TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden requiring all school buses to be equipped with motion sensors to determine the presence of pedestrians in the front or back of the bus cleared the full Senate.
S-2011 would require the State Board of Education, in consultation with the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, to establish regulations on the design and installation of the sensors.Some sensors rely on reflected radar waves and others use a Doppler radar to detect objects in a bus’s danger zone.
“In 2016, the technology exists to create safer conditions for drivers and pedestrians, and it’s time we put it to good use to protect our residents, particularly our young people,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden and Gloucester). “This bill will provide school bus drivers with the tools they need for safer driving while also giving parents reassurance that there is safety in and around the transportation their son or daughter takes daily.”
The bill is named “Abigail’s Law” in honor of Abigail Kuberiet, a toddler who was struck and killed by a school bus in South Plainfield when she wandered in front of a stopped bus following her mother who had put her 5 year old child on the bus. The driver was unaware of Abigail’s presence because her small size made it impossible to see her from the driver’s seat.
In Waterford Township last year, 6-year old Edmond Bock IV walked in front of a stopped bus towards the passenger side to get on the bus. The school bus began to drive off as Bock was walking and the boy was struck and killed.
The state of New Jersey has seen other tragic cases of students killed by buses on their way to school or from school, including a case in Hamilton in which Bryelle Dean, age 13, was struck and killed when she was accidently pushed down in front of a bus.
S-2011 was approved 38-0. It passed the Assembly 77-0 in December and now heads to the governor.