PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There’s a new effort to keep children safe while riding in school buses.
Among the proposals, lawmakers in New Jersey say they want additional background checks on bus drivers.
There are still unanswered questions about the horrible bus crash in Mount Olive that killed a 10-year-old girl and a teacher from Paramus.
School Superintendent Michele Robinson rushed away from CBS2’s cameras when asked about how driver Hudy Muldrow was able to get behind the wheel despite his rocky driving record.
“It did not show moving violations,” Robinson said. “It showed he was a driver in good standing and eligible to drive with us.”
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission confirmed after the crash that Muldrow has had his drivers license suspended 14 times, one of which was caused by a moving violation.
A school district or bus company is required to get a driver’s ten-year employment history before their initial employment and must review the driver’s five-year driving record every year.
Muldrow’s moving violations may have been older than the ten or five-year time frames Paramus schools received. CBS2 reached out to the superintendent to find our when Muldrow was hired, but she didn’t respond.
“I think in these instance again, when we’re talking about people who are going to be driving around children their complete driving record should be looked at,” State Senator Joseph Lagana (D-38th) said.
Lagana has called a legislative hearing to address school bus safety standards, including bus driver screening and upgraded seat belt requirements. New Jersey currently only requires lap belts.
Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-5th) is proposing three-point lap and shoulder belts be required on all new school buses nationwide. He says the new belts can reduce deaths by more than fifty percent.
Gottheimer plans to propose the safety upgrades as part of the Secure Every Child Under the Right Equipment Standards, or SECURE Act, later this week.
State legislators in New Jersey are also proposing their own bill requiring three-point lap and shoulder seat belts on all new school buses in the state.