Weinberg-Pou Bill To Create Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Education Program for Drivers Goes to Governor

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senator Nellie Pou that would require the development of a carbon monoxide poisoning education program for drivers cleared the Senate today, sending it to the governor’s desk. The bill (S-2374) is designated as the “Rosa-Bonilla Family Act” in honor of a Passaic woman and her two children who tragically lost their lives as a result of a snow-clogged tailpipe during a blizzard in January that caused unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.

“This was prompted by a tragic case of carbon monoxide poisoning that left a family devastated,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “By educating the public about the danger that they could be exposed to if they come into contact with what is known as a ‘silent killer,’ we will hopefully prevent future tragedies from occurring in the state.”

The bill would require the curriculum approved for classroom driver education courses and information brochures distributed by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to include information on the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from motor vehicles and techniques for the safe operation and proper maintenance of a vehicle, including, but not limited to, safety tips to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning from motor vehicles. The informational brochure would be made available at every MVC agency and regional service center, official inspection facility, private inspection facility, and on the MVC’s website.

“The Rosa-Bonilla family suffered a terrible tragedy as a result of carbon monoxide exposure. We are advancing this bill in honor of those lives lost and with a commitment to taking steps to prevent this kind of loss going forward,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen, Passaic).  “This program would require that carbon monoxide safety be part of driver education courses and that information is disseminated to residents through MVC. With these steps, we will better ensure that residents are aware of the harm that can be caused by this substance and know how to prevent it.”

Under the bill, the MVC would also be required to include questions concerning these dangers and techniques as a part of the written examination required to obtain an examination permit, special learner’s permit, and basic driver’s license.

The bill cleared the Senate by a vote of 36-0. It passed the Assembly 77-0 in June.