Rep. Gottheimer makes case for tougher school bus laws

Submitted Photo U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5, addresses the media in Lodi on measures that will keep children safer on school buses.

WEST MILFORD – U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5, and state legislators met with the media in Lodi Tuesday to make the case for tougher school bus laws following the death of 10-year-old Miranda Vargas in Paramus last May.
“No parent should be worried about their child’s safety on his or her way to school,” Gottheimer said during the press conference. “Let’s continue to honor Miranda’s life and recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to make sure our kids, our teachers, and our families are as safe as they can be. We cannot afford to let the safety of our children become a partisan issue. It is a mom and dad issue.”
Flanked by other state legislators, Gottheimer said he introduced bipartisan federal legislation in June known as the bipartisan Miranda Vargas School Bus Driver Red Flag Act – or “Miranda’s Law.”
The bill would require automatic notifications of driver violations to school districts and school bus companies within 24 hours, so they could take immediate action to keep unsafe drivers off the road and away from children.
“Miranda’s Law is an important step towards making sure school districts across the country have the information they need on their drivers in real time,” Miranda’s father, Jovanny Vargas said. “We need to make sure we hold schools accountable once they have that information so they don’t let bad drivers behind the wheel and put our children in harm’s way.”
Gottheimer also introduced the SECURES Act in May; a bipartisan bill co-led by Republican John Faso, 19-NY, with senate companion legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, that would require that all school buses 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, according to Gottheimer’s office.
State legislators are working on their own version of the proposed law in Trenton, Gottheimer’s office said.