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| D’Arcy Johnson Day

A bill signed into law this past January mandates that new school buses in New Jersey will have to be equipped with exterior object-detecting sensors.  Over the past 10 years, an average of nine and a half students have died each year in the school bus loading and unloading zone, with students ages 7 and younger being most at risk by a factor of more than three times that of older students.  The motion sensor law is termed Abigail’s Law named after a 1 year-old girl who was killed in 2003 at the front of a stopped school bus in South Plainfield, New Jersey.

The required sensors will alert the school bus driver if there are children in front or in back of the bus.  Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan is quoted as saying “The use of available technology will facilitate safe driving and prevent fatal accidents.  When an alarm sounds if a child is in the vicinity of the bus, the operator will immediately be made aware of the situation and will not move forward, and a life will be saved.”  An attempt to pass a similar bill occurred closer to Abigail’s accident but the appropriate technology was not available.

According to the National Coalition for School Bus Safety, children are more likely to be killed as pedestrians outside a school bus and most often by their own school bus.  In an emailed statement, Assemblywoman Gariela Mosquera (D-Turnersville) wrote “Regardless of how much we teach the importance of school bus safety to children, accidents can happen in just the blink of an eye.  Putting sensors on buses simply is an additional step that can help reduce the likelihood of an accident and keep children in New Jersey safe.”

This simple lifesaving technology can help protect students, drivers and pedestrians and prevent another New Jersey family from losing a child.

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