(TRENTON) – Looking to improve the safety for all of New Jersey’s student bus riders, Assemblymen Clinton Calabrese and Nicholas Chiaravalloti sponsored legislation requiring school buses to have a display of identifying information in order for the public to easily report potential bus driver misconduct. The legislation cleared the full Assembly Thursday by a 75-0-0 vote.
“School bus safety is of absolute paramount importance. We need, therefore, to have a mechanism by which the public can easily communicate careless driving of school bus drivers to the respective school district or private school,” said Calabrese (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This measure will also put school bus drivers on notice that their driving will be reported by the public should they fail to perform their duty of driving safely and carefully.”
The bill (A-4031) mandates an agency, board of education, nonpublic school or school bus contactor that operates school buses to display a phone number, website address or other identifying information that allows the public to report a bus driver’s misconduct across the back of the school bus in a color that contrasts with the bus.
“When we put our children on school buses, we have an expectation that the individuals driving the buses will understand the importance and potential dangers of their jobs,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “This bill will help us ensure the safety of children across New Jersey, as it will allow us to more easily identify who is and isn’t fit to be entrusted with the lives of our kids.”
Under current regulations, there can be no lettering on the front or rear of a school bus other than the words “SCHOOL BUS.” This bill would amend this to include the allowance of information helpful to the public in reporting bus driver misconduct.
The bill was initially advanced through the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on January 17 and now heads to the governor’s desk.