RIVER EDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The father of a young girl killed in a horrific school bus crash in New Jersey is calling for new legislation to keep unsafe school bus drivers off the road.
“I miss everything of my baby,” he said during a press conference Friday in Brookside Park. “She didn’t ask for Disney, she never asked for me. She said, ‘daddy, save your money, it’s OK, I just want to take a walk with you, daddy.’ So we would take a walk, get ice cream, and the glow on her face was — this has destroyed us.”
School bus driver Hudy Muldrow faces charges of vehicular homicide after allegedly attempting an illegal U-turn in Mount Olive. The 77-year-old had a long history of violations, including moving tickets and license suspensions.
“How could someone that has their driver’s license suspended 14 times be trusted with the life of my daughter?” Vargas said.
Under current federal law, employers of school bus drivers are required to check their driving histories just once a year, meaning if a bus driver doesn’t self-report a suspension or violation, he or she could be driving your children around for 364 days before anyone notices, CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported.
The Miranda Vargas School Bus Driver Red Flag Act, or “Miranda’s Law,” would change 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 the infraction from the Department of Transportation within 24 hours,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer.
CBS2 tried asking Paramus School Superintendent Michelle Robinson if the district supports the new legislation and whether it plans to strengthen its checks on bus drivers, but she refused to answer our questions.
Vargas said his days are now spent supporting his family and working to protect the children who still have a chance to grow up.
“This is something I can’t change, but I could change what is happening with the kids, whether these kids are being protected,'” he said.
Gottheimer said Miranda’s Law has widespread bipartisan support in Congress and he is hopeful it will go for a vote in the next few months. He is also working with the New Jersey Legislature to require shoulder seat belts on all school buses.