New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer is launching a campaign to promote school bus safety.
Gottheimer is introducing a law that would require buses across the country to install 3-point lap and shoulder seat belts.
“Seat belts on all school buses, lap and shoulder seat belts on all school buses,” he said. “Current federal law only requires seat belts on small busses, not the larger one’s children often ride on. Only eight states require them on the bigger busses.”
The bill also calls for technology in buses to acknowledge that passengers are buckled up.
“In my own car and probably like many of your cars, if you don’t put your seatbelt on, what happens? It starts to ding, it flashes, there’s lights, an alert on your dash panel," Gottheimer said. "Why don’t we have the same alerts on school buses when a child isn’t wearing a seat belt?”
Another bill being introduced, Miranda’s Law, would tighten up screening procedures for bus operators with driving violations. It’s named after 10-year-old middle school student Miranda Vargas of Paramus. She was one of two people killed in a bus accident nearly a year ago caused by a 77-year-old driver with a longstanding record of license suspensions and road violations.
“Parents should not have to worry about who is driving their child’s school bus,” said Miranda’s father Joevanny Vargas. “School districts must know their drivers and know about problems in a timely manner.”
Vargas plans to testify before Congress in support of the school bus safety laws.