WASHINGTON, DC – Joevanny Vargas, father of 10-year-old Miranda Vargas killed in the Paramus bus crash on I-80 in Mount Olive Township, Madison Vargas, Miranda’s twin sister, and Johnny, Miranda’s grandfather, went door to door on Capitol Hill with U.S. Representative Josh Gottheimer on Wednesday to gather support for bipartisan school bus safety legislation.
The Vargas family and Gottheimer have met with key members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee including Chairman Peter DeFazio (OR-4), Congressman Donald Payne (NJ-10), Congressman Tom Malinowski (NJ-7), Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-9), in addition to co-sponsor Congressman Tom Reed to discuss Gottheimer’s two school bus safety bills: Miranda’s Law and the SECURES Act.
Miranda’s Law, named for Miranda Vargas, 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.
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.
“We are here to help turn tragedy into hope for other children and families. I am so grateful that Joevanny and his family came down to Washington so that they could tell their story to members of Congress on why our communities so desperately need this bipartisan legislation.” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Miranda’s Law, and the SECURES Act, will help save lives. And there’s nothing partisan about that.”
“When a parent sends their child off to school or a field trip they must have the peace of mind that they will return safe and sound. What happened to Miranda Vargas, her classmates and teachers was heartbreaking and tragic, and could have been avoided. No parent should have to confront the pain Joevanny Vargas has had to endure, and I am inspired by his advocacy to ensure to other families don’t suffer such a horrible loss,” said Senator Bob Menendez. “We must do everything we can to protect our kids, and it’s time for the federal government to review and issue new school bus safety standards. This is about saving the lives of our children.”
“Every day parents are entrusting their child’s bus driver to get them to and from school safely and they deserve to know that the person behind the wheel is qualified,” Senator Cory Booker said. “By strengthening oversight and requiring notification of any changes in driving record, Miranda’s Law will ensure schools have the information they need about their bus drivers’ records so no family has to feel the heartbreak and loss experienced by the family of Miranda Vargas. This commonsense legislation will help keep our kids safe and their parents’ minds at ease.”
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