Madden/Sweeney Measure Requiring Bus Drivers To Check Buses For Students After Their Routes Clears Assembly Education Panel

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Steve Sweeney which would require school bus drivers to visually inspect buses for students after completing each transportation route was unanimously (8-0) approved today by the Assembly Education Committee.

“Bus drivers are charged with the responsibility of transporting our children to and from school, and we depend on the drivers to keep our children safe,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Checking for students at the end of bus routes is something that would only take drivers a few minutes, but could prevent injury and potentially save lives. It’s all about taking preventative measures to protect our kids.”

“Twice a day during the school year, parents entrust school bus drivers with their most prized possessions – their children,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “Knowing that bus drivers take the time to check for students at the end of bus routes would provide parents with extra peace of mind, knowing that their kids are safe on their way to and from school.”

The Senators’ measure, S-328, would impose a penalty for any school bus driver who leaves a student on the bus at the end of a route. A first offense would result in a six month school bus license suspension, and after a second offense the bus driver would have his or her license permanently revoked. Any driver found guilty of gross negligence, resulting in the harm or injury of a student that has been left on a bus would have his or her driver’s license permanently revoked.

This bill was unanimously approved by the Senate on February 27, 2006. It now heads to the full Assembly for a vote.

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