On September 19, 2016, the Assembly Education Committee met to consider an array of bills including:
A597 (Lagana/Gusciora/Webber/Mukherji/Holley) – Establishes crimes of operating school bus with suspended or revoked driving privileges and being involved in accident causing bodily injury; permanently prohibits passenger and school bus CDL endorsements for persons convicted of those crimes.
A597 was unanimously released by the Committee.
A1257 (Caride/Jimenez/Mukherji/Holley) – Requires school bus transporting students using wheelchairs to be equipped with four-point securement system; requires school bus operator to secure students using wheelchairs.
A1257 was unanimously released by the Committee.
More on A:597 below from the office for Assembly Democrats:
LAGANA & GUSCIORA BILL TO ENSURE SAFETY OF STUDENTS TRANSPORTED ON SCHOOL BUSES CLEARS ASSEMBLY PANEL
(Trenton) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph Lagana and Reed Gusciora to prevent individuals who have had their driving privileges suspended or revoked from operating a school bus was released Monday by an Assembly panel.
“Individuals who’ve had their driving privileges suspended or revoked have no business being on the road, never mind transporting children to school,” said Lagana (D-Bergen / Passaic). “Losing your driving privileges is no small infraction. This will keep irresponsible individuals from transporting school children, and ensure the safety of students who depend on school bus transportation.”
“The road is already a dangerous place. Parents should be assured that the person charged with safely transporting their children to and from school are qualified to do so,” said Gusciora (D-Hunterdon / Mercer). “This ensures that those individuals who knowingly drive a school bus despite not being allowed to drive are punished and are never allowed behind the wheel of a school bus.”
The bill (A597) would establish that a person who knowingly operates a school bus transporting one or more students while his or her driving privileges have been suspended or revoked is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. A crime of the fourth degree is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
The bill would also establish that a person, knowingly operating a school bus while his or her driving privileges have been suspended or revoked, who is involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury to another person is guilty of a crime of the third degree. Such a crime is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years or a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
Under the bill, the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission would be required to revoke for life the passenger and school bus endorsements on the commercial driver’s license of a person convicted of either offense. Lastly, the bill specifies that a person convicted of either offense is permanently disqualified from employment as a school bus driver.
The bill was released by the Assembly Education Committee.