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Lawmakers considering new school bus legislation

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Unless your kids are headed to summer school, they’re probably almost done riding the school bus this year. Some lawmakers want to be sure that next year whoever is driving your kids’ bus has been properly checked out and doesn’t have an unsafe driving record.

Miranda Vargas was only 10 years old when she was killed in a school bus crash. Her father Joevanny Vargas says the bus driver should never have been behind the wheel.

“77 years old, 14 driving suspensions, you trust him to drive such delicate cargo,” Vargas said.

Vargas and New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer say it’s their mission to keep unsafe school bus drivers off the road.

“You can have a background check on a Monday, pass it, On Tuesday get a DUI and the only requirement is self-reporting,” Gottheimer said.

Gottheimer said Miranda’s Law would change that. Under the proposed legislation, school districts and bus companies would receive automatic alerts if a bus driver is caught breaking the law. New York Congressman Tom Reed is a co-sponsor and says the notification would go out within 24 hours of violations.

“Because of suspension and driving violation, immediately being taken off the road,” Reed said.

In addition to reporting red flags about bus drivers, lawmakers are pushing for legislation that requires all school buses to be equipped with seatbelts.

“This is about getting 3-point seatbelts like the ones we have in our cars and trucks. Getting them onto our school buses,” Gottheimer said.

Miranda’s twin sister, Madison, encourages Congress to support both bills as a way to keep track of drivers and better protect our precious cargo.

“I just want everyone to come together to make sure no one suffers from a situation like this again,” Madison Vargas said.


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