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Booker, Menendez Reintroduce School Bus Safety Bills (VIDEO)

Following last year’s school bus accident on the I-80 that killed a Paramus schoolgirl, New Jersey Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez reintroduced a package of bills in the US Senate aimed at improving school bus safety.

The Secure Every Child Under The Right Equipment Standards (SECURES) Act would instruct the US Department of Transportation to issue new seat belt regulations and standards for school buses of all sizes. Current federal law only requires smaller school buses to be outfitted with lap belts.

A second bill, named Miranda’s Law after 10-year old Miranda Vargas who was killed in the I-80 crash, would require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to provide real-time, automatic notifications whenever a bus driver’s license status changes because of a moving violation conviction, crash, license suspension, or other event. Under current federal regulations, employers of school bus drivers are only required to check the driving histories of their employees once per year. Therefore, if a driver fails to self-report an incident or change in their license status, it could take nearly a year before a school district obtains that information. The driver in the crash that took little Miranda’s life had his license suspended 14 times.

The legislation was initially introduced in September, but with a new Congress beginning in January, all past bills automatically expired. The bills were therefore reintroduced in the new Congress where they will hopefully move forward expeditiously.

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