TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Steve Sweeney to require school bus drivers to visually inspect buses for students after completing each transportation route received unanimous approval today by the full Senate.
“We count on our school bus drivers to ensure the safety of our children as they are transported to and from school,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Recently, there have been instances of children being left behind on school buses. This legislation would give parents the peace of mind that an additional precaution is being taken to protect their children.”
“Our children are our most precious possessions,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “Requiring school bus drivers to take a few more minutes to check their buses to help ensure the safety of our children is certainly not too much to ask.”
The Senators’ measure, S-328, imposes 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 approved by the Senate Education Committee on February 6. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.