On June 16, lawmakers, educators and advocates stood side by side calling for expanding safety precautions for school buses. The press conference, led by the NJ Traffic Safety Coalition, a not-for-profit organization comprised of concerned citizens, victims’ advocates, academics, public officials, law enforcement and traffic safety industry professionals, called for support of a bill that calls for more cameras on school buses.
The bill, A-3798, seeks to add cameras to school buses that will catch drivers who illegally pass while students are boarding and departing.
NJEA Vice President Marie Blistan discussed the importance of the bill:
“School bus drivers are the first to see a child in the morning and the last to see them at the end of the day. They have precious cargo, and they face many challenges in keeping students safe. And while there are many things our bus drivers can do to ensure safety, controlling the behaviors of other drivers’ isn’t one of them.
“This bill will take an important step in making sure that all of us on the road are equally as vigilant about this responsibility. If enacting A-3798 into law makes even one driver slow down and saves one child from being harmed, it’s worth it. Nothing is so urgent that we should allow our children’s lives to be risked.”
Blistan was joined by fellow NJEA member and school bus safety advocate, Joanne Ciccotelli. Ciccotelli, who is currently a bus driver in Dennis Township, spoke of her support of the bill:
“An accident can happen in a split second. I am reminded of this on a daily basis when I see cars run stop signs. I was reminded of this last year when my own bus was involved in an accident. For these reasons, I believe we can and should do more to support our bus drivers in this difficult job. I support A-3798 to place more cameras on school buses to catch drivers who illegally pass school buses. It will help enforce a law that is already in place. Above all, it will keep kids safe.