NEW JERSEY — The school year is underway for some in New Jersey and that means it is time to check in on the safety of our school buses. A task force created by Governor Phil Murphy began the process of inspecting nearly 24,000 of the state’s school buses before our most precious cargo gets on board for the school year.
Twice a year, New Jersey’s school buses face some of the toughest scrutiny and testing in the country.
“I’m pretty confident in saying there is no state that is more safe in bus requirements than New Jersey,” said New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chair Sue Fulton.
Nearly 100 inspectors from the newly created School Bus Safety Task Force will take a look at 180 different safety components, from brakes and steering, tires and lighting to emergency exits and seat belts. All of it, including driver records, are under a figurative microscope.
The May 2018 bus crash in Mount Olive, New Jersey that killed two, 10-year-old Miranda Vargas and teacher Jennifer Williamson, forced action in the state legislature and eight new school bus safety bills were passed as a result just this year.
On average about 77% of buses inspected are found to have something wrong and while that number may sound alarming, Fulton said those are mostly minor issues and ones that do not require the bus to be pulled out of service completely.
If you’d like to look up your school bus report card, your child’s bus and bus driver’s safety record you can head on over to NJMVC.GOV and search by county or name of bus company.