(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph Lagana and Reed Gusciora to prevent individuals who have had their driving privileges suspended or revoked from operating a school bus was released Monday by an Assembly panel.
“Individuals who’ve had their driving privileges suspended or revoked have no business being on the road, never mind transporting children to school,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Losing your driving privileges is no small infraction. This will keep irresponsible individuals from transporting school children, and ensure the safety of students who depend on school bus transportation.”
“The road is already a dangerous place. Parents should be assured that the person charged with safely transporting their children to and from school are qualified to do so,” said Gusciora (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “This ensures that those individuals who knowingly drive a school bus despite not being allowed to drive are punished and are never allowed behind the wheel of a school bus.”
The bill (A-597) would establish that a person who knowingly operates a school bus transporting one or more students while his or her driving privileges have been suspended or revoked is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. A crime of the fourth degree is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
The bill would also establish that a person, knowingly operating a school bus while his or her driving privileges have been suspended or revoked, who is involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to another person is guilty of a crime of the third degree. Such a crime is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years or a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
Under the bill, the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission would be required to revoke for life the passenger and school bus endorsements on the commercial driver’s license of a person convicted of either offense. Lastly, the bill specifies that a person convicted of either offense is permanently disqualified from employment as a school bus driver.
The bill was released by the Assembly Education Committee.