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Why doesn't New Jersey law require three-point seatbelts in all school busses?

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In response to the horrific school bus crash in Mt. Olive this past May, the Paramus Board of Education has agreed to purchase busses with three-point belts. Why isn't this already required by New Jersey law?

Families, educators and locals are still reeling from the horrific bus crash in Mount Olive on May 17, 2018 that resulted in the death of social studies teacher, Jennifer Williamson, and 10-year-old fifth-grader, Miranda Vargas, while injuring dozens of others.

It has been determined that the crash was caused by the school bus driver Hudy Muldrow Sr., attempting to make an illegal u-turn right after entering Route 80 from Route 206 South. As a result, the bus was struck by a dump truck, causing a crash so intense that it literally tore the bus apart. Mr. Muldrow has been charged with two counts of reckless vehicular homicide.

In response to the crash, the school board has decided to purchase busses retrofitted with three-point seatbelts, also known as lap-shoulder seatbelts, enhancing safety for students and chaperones.

In New Jersey, it is required for all school busses to have seatbelts, and for students to wear them. But when we stop to think about the primary use of school busses - transporting children - we have to ask why protecting such precious cargo with three-point seatbelts isn't industry standard? With some of the most challenging and congested roadways in the country, why aren't all New Jersey school busses required to have lap-shoulder seatbelts?

 

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