Bus Safety Law Protects The Disabled
By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. July 12, 2012
A new law in New Jersey is intended to improve the safety of bus riders with disabilities.
The legislation gives adults with disabilities the same protection as students when using a school bus.
It requires the bus’s flashing lights to be turned on when picking up or dropping off the disabled, alerting drivers that they have to stop at least 25 feet from the bus.
Acting Governor Kim Guadagno says there was no specific event that led to the legislation that she signed while Governor Christie was out of state.
“It’s the first time I can think of that a law was not passed in reaction to some kind of tragedy. What this is going to do is avoid a tragedy in the future. It proactively helps to protect the most vulnerable in New Jersey.”
Advocates are pleased the measure is now law.
Tom Baffuto is executive director of the Arc of New Jersey.
“Some folks that live in the community go to day programs, go to different programs in the community, and they would ride a bus with lights on it. The drivers were never required to put them on, and cars were never required to stop. So it seems like a no brainer but when you’re not required to use them they weren’t being used.”
Drivers who fail to stop when the flashing lights are on could get a hundred dollar fine and 15 days of community service for the first offense. Subsequent violations could result in a $250 fine and up to 15 days in jail.
© 2012 WBGO News
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