PARAMUS, NJ (Bergen County) – Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation Saturday mandating new school buses be equipped with three-point safety belts.
The legislation was passed in response to the fatal school bus crash on May 17 that killed Eastbrook Middle School teacher Jennifer Williamson and 10-year-old student Miranda Vargas.
The school bus heading to Waterloo Village on a field trip when it collided with a dump truck on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive Township.
School bus driver Hudy Muldrow, Sr. was charged with two counts of death by auto.
“I’m not sure, no one is sure, if three-point belts would have saved their lives, or reduced the injuries. But were sure know, as a general matter, it will make school bus riding a lot safer. We need to do this. We need to do more. I’m just happy we’ve signed this and this now is the law of the land,” Murphy said.
Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) praised the bipartisan legislation Governor Murphy signed into law to require all new school buses have three-point lap-and-shoulder seat belts. It is a key step in a broader national legislative effort, including the SECURES Act, which requires lap-and-shoulder seat belts on all larger school buses nationwide.
“Any of our children could have been on that Paramus bus. As a parent and as a Congressman, I’m relieved to see the state work quickly to ensure that every child in New Jersey is as safe as possible when they’re on the road. Now we must continue to fight for these protections nationwide — America can’t cut corners when it comes to the safety of our children,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Senator Lagana, Assemblyman Tully, and Assemblywoman Swain have been champions for Paramus children in getting this legislation signed into law.”
Gottheimer’s bipartisan federal legislation announced in May, the Secure Every Child Under the Right Equipment Standards (SECURES) Act of 2018, would require that all school buses nationwide have three-point lap-and-shoulder seat belts and encourage innovative measures to ensure that students are actually wearing their seat belts while on school buses. In May, the SECURES Act, Cosponsored by Congressman John Faso (NY-19), was introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.