New Jersey lawmakers may require that all newly manufactured school buses be equipped with sensors to alert the driver when a child walks in front or behind the bus.
Assemblyman Pat Diegnan said he proposed the legislation because of a fatal accident in his hometown of South Plainfield.
“A little girl was following her sister onto the school bus. She was about 2 years old and she stood in front of the bus. She was so tiny that the arm of the bus actually went over her, and the bus driver never saw her, never realized she was there,” said Diegnan, D-Middlesex.
Diegnan has been trying for several years to get lawmakers to approve the measure.
“The original bill said that it would on all buses, and they pushed back and said, ‘No, that would be costly. So then we said, ‘How about just newly manufactured buses?’ The good news is I have not gotten any pushback this time and hopefully it will get through,” he said.
Jonathan Pushman with the New Jersey School Boards Association supports the legislation but urges lawmakers to provide funding for the equipment.
“We certainly appreciate the prospective nature of the bill, that this wouldn’t be a situation where you’d have to go and retrofit existing buses with bumper sensors,” Pushman said. “It could be built into future contracts with school bus manufacturers.”