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Diegnan & Mosquera Bill to Make School Buses Safer Gains Panel Approval

‘Abigail’s Law’ Would Require Sensors on School Vehicles

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Patrick Diegnan and Gabriela Mosquera to establish new standards to improve school bus safety was advanced by an Assembly panel on Monday.

The bill (A-1455), to be known as “Abigail’s Law,” would require newly-manufactured school buses to be equipped with motion sensors to determine the presence of persons or objects passing in front of or behind a bus.

The legislation is in honor of Abigail Kuberiet, a child who tragically lost her life in 2003 standing in front of a stopped school bus in South Plainfield. The bus operator was unable to see the child from the driver’s seat.

“The use of available technology will facilitate safe driving and prevent fatal accidents,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “When an alarm sounds if a child is in the vicinity of the bus, the operator will immediately be made aware of the situation and will not move forward, and a life will be saved.”

Children are more likely to be killed as pedestrians outside a school bus, and most often by their own school bus, according to the National Coalition for School Bus Safety. The majority of these accidents involve very young children.

“Regardless of how much we teach the importance of school bus safety to children, accidents can happen in just the blink of an eye,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “Putting sensors on buses simply is an additional step that can help reduce the likelihood of an accident and keep children in New Jersey safe.”

The measure was advanced by the Assembly Education Committee, of which Diegnan is chair.