(TRENTON) – To study the safety of school bus passengers during a variety of emergency situations, legislation sponsored by Assembly members Chris Tully, Lisa Swain, and Daniel Benson was signed into law Thursday.
“School districts should know how to respond in all emergency situations that can happen on a school bus to ensure our children are protected,” said Tully (D-Bergen, Passaic). “Studying the possibilities will help us better prepare our students, drivers and schools.”
The new law (formerly bill A-4224) directs the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Superintendent of the Division of State Police, the Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety, the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, and the Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, to study the safety of school bus passengers involved in emergency situations.
“This is the first step to ensuring an emergency response plan is in place for school districts in regards to school bus incidents,” said Swain (D-Bergen, Passaic). “In order to ensure the safety of students on school buses, we have to understand what is being done currently in districts and in the state to respond to such emergencies.”
“Recent tragedies and other bus incidents have made it clear the state needs to look closer at bus safety and emergency response plans concerning school buses,” said Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “This review of school bus emergency response will help us identify important safety improvements that can save lives and obtain critical information quickly in an emergency.”
The study will include an evaluation of the statutory and regulatory requirements relating to school bus safety and the current policies, plans, and procedures implemented by school districts.
The commissioner will prepare and submit to the Governor and the Legislature a report of the study’s findings with recommendations to improve the safety of school bus passengers within 120 days.