- By Office of Congressman Tom Reed
Washington, DC - Congressman Tom Reed announced Wednesday that he has joined with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) to co-sponsor two bills to improve school bus safety following a horrific school bus crash in New Jersey last year.
The Miranda Vargas School Bus Driver Red Flag Act – or Miranda's Law – ensures real-time background checks, so that when a school bus driver has any driving infraction beyond a parking ticket, the school or school bus company will receive an alert about that infraction from the Department of Transportation within 24 hours.
This bill was named to commemorate one of the victims of the tragic bus crash that occurred in Paramus, NJ, last year. The driver of the bus was found to have had more than 14 license suspensions at the time of the crash.
"We care about ensuring our kids are safe from the moment they get on the school bus in the morning to the moment they arrive at home," said Reed. "Not only is it common sense to shed sunshine on the driving records of school bus drivers, it is the fair thing to do for the parents of millions of school age children who worry daily about their child's safety."
"We must strengthen background checks on school bus drivers to protect our children from those, like the driver who drove Miranda's bus, who have no place getting behind the wheel," said Gottheimer. "We are here to help turn tragedy into hope for other children and families. I'm glad that Miranda's father, Joevanny, will be joining me in Washington this Spring to tell his story to Members of Congress on why our communities so desperately need this school bus safety legislation. Miranda's Law will help save lives and there's nothing partisan about that."
The SECURES Act requires seat belts on all school buses, makes three-point lap-and-shoulder seat belts the national standard, and encourages innovative measures to ensure students actually wear their seat belts while on school buses.
"The data is clear: Seat belts save the lives of people we care about," said Reed. "Why wouldn't we require every school bus to have them installed? This is only fair for the parents of millions of school age children who worry daily about their child's safety every day as they head off to school."
"The lap belt is a relic of the past. Like any parent would, I want to ensure all of our children, regardless of where they live, are as safe as possible on our school buses, said Gottheimer."