Lap and shoulder seat belts now required on NJ school busses in wake of deadly crash

PARAMUS, N.J. — New Jersey will now require all school buses to be equipped with three-point lap and shoulder seat belts in wake of a school bus crash that killed two people in May.

Governor Phil Murphy signed the legislation on Saturday.

 “We will never know if a three-point belt would have saved the lives of Miranda Vargas and Jennifer Williamson, or whether they would have prevented serious injury to so many others on May 17,” said Governor Murphy

Miranda Vargas, 10, and Paramus East Brook Middle School teacher Jennifer Williamson, 51, were killed when the school bus they were riding in crashed into a dump truck in Morris County. The bus driver was charged with two counts of reckless vehicular homicide.

“Every child and every educator and adult chaperone deserves our best effort to protect their safety and the best possible chance of emerging unharmed in the unfortunate event of a school bus accident,” he added.

The legislation takes effect immediately and applies to school buses manufactured on or after 180 days of Saturday.

“For Miranda and Mrs. Williamson and for all the children in New Jersey and for their families and communities, I am honored to sign this legislation,” Governor Murphy said.