TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Fred H. Madden and Steve Sweeney that would require school bus drivers to visually inspect their buses for students after completing each transportation route was unanimously approved today by the Senate Education Committee.
“When parents put their children on the school bus in the morning, they are entrusting drivers with their most precious possessions,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Parents deserve to know that they are leaving their children in the hands of capable adults – adults who will do everything they can to make sure that the students they transport arrive at school and back home safely.”
The Senators’ measure, S-328, 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.
“Over the past few years, there have been quite a few stories in the news of students being left alone on school buses for hours at a time – that is completely unacceptable,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “This bill would require school bus drivers to pay extra attention to the students they drive to and from school, and require drivers to make sure that all students reach their destinations before locking up for the day.”
This measure now awaits a vote by the full Senate.