State officials inspect school buses ahead of new school year

Posted: Updated:

State officials are inspecting school buses across New Jersey to look for safety violations ahead of the new school year.

The inspections come as New Jersey implements new safety regulations following a school bus crash on Interstate 80 in Morris County that left a student and a teacher dead, and dozens more injured.

"The safest way to get your kid to school is on a school bus to school. A bus will be safer than walking, than having somebody drop them off,” says New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Sue Fulton.

State MVC inspectors were in East Windsor Tuesday to inspect the buses there. The process will be repeated later in the school year as well. Officials say that the inspections are important to make sure that school vehicles traveling around the state are safe to operate among traffic.

RELATED: Rep. Gottheimer, family of crash victim push for national school bus safety bill 
RELATED: Community marks 1 year since deadly school bus crash on I-80 

Fulton says that the safety regulations in New Jersey are some of the toughest in the country.

“For starters, we require seatbelts - recently three-point seat belts on every bus. There's only seven states in the nation which require more than the federal requirement of belts on the small buses,” she says.

The inspection process covers 180 safety points. A failure could be something as simple as a sticky window or a tripped seat. Inspectors say that 77% of all school buses fail the initial inspection. But they say that more than half of those buses are returned to service the same day.

The most common safety violation is issues with lights, according to officials.

School bus drivers are also inspected.

“We look at every driver record when we inspect the buses so that we verify every driver's credentials are current and that includes their medical certification,” Fulton says.

The MVC posts the school bus inspection report card on its website for the public to view.

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