Safety records for parties involved in I-80 school bus crash

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PARAMUS -

Investigators are now looking into the possibility that a deadly crash involving a Paramus school bus and a dump truck on Interstate-80 in Mount Olive may have been caused by the bus driver attempting to make an illegal U-turn.

However a review of federal and state records by News 12 New Jersey found that that Paramus has an exemplary record.

RELATED: 1 adult, 1 student killed in school bus crash on I-80

New Jersey has very tough school bus inspections, and the Motor Vehicle Commission maintains a report card of each school bus company. Nearly half of the buses in the state fail their first inspection and have to be taken out of service so they can be fixed and re-inspected. But the out-of-service rate in Paramus is much lower – at less than 10 percent.

News 12 also looked into the safety records of Mendez Trucking, the company that owns the dump truck involved in the crash, and found that the trucking company’s safety record is mixed.

RELATED: Parents rush to Paramus school following word of bus crash

Mendez Trucking had seven accidents in the past two years, according to state records. But the company also travels 2 million miles a year.

According to the federal government, in an urban environment like New Jersey, an acceptable accident rate is 1.7 accidents per million miles. Mendez Trucking’s rate is slightly higher, at 1.8 accidents per million miles.

RELATED: Parents rush to Paramus school following word of bus crash

The company also has a 37 percent inspection failure rate. The statewide average for trucking companies is 20 percent failure.

But Mendez drivers do well on their driving tests. The drivers failed testing less than 1 percent of the time, much better than the national average of 5.5 percent.

The company also had to pay a $22,000 fine in 2016 for three inspection violations. But this was the only time that Mendez faced any sort of disciplinary action in the past six years.

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