School buses in New Jersey under scrutiny

New Jersey school buses are being put under the microscope after an investigation into drivers' criminal records and a poll showing the public's misgivings about safety. A recent investigation by Gannett

News 12 Staff

Sep 15, 2008, 12:58 PM

Updated 5,789 days ago

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New Jersey school buses are being put under the microscope after an investigation into drivers' criminal records and a poll showing the public's misgivings about safety.
A recent investigation by Gannett Newspapers found there were dozens of school bus drivers in the state with criminal records. The offenses ranged from manslaughter to drug dealing to theft, according to Gannett.
All school bus drivers have to pass background checks, but the investigation found that some have slipped through loopholes in the system.
Dave Stephens, a concerned New Jersey resident, is worried that someone who has sold drugs in the past could deal to kids on the bus. "Drug dealing is something that you don't want to see a bus driver doing," he says.
Safety on the buses is also a concern. A recent poll by Monmouth University shows that one in three New Jersey residents don't think school buses are driven safely most of the time.
As evidence of the potential danger, some point to an incident last year in which two school buses collided in Monroe Township. No one was seriously hurt, but more than 20 kids were taken to the hospital.
New Jersey resident Maurice Dande says he has two daughters who take the bus daily. Dande thinks most of the time the drivers are cautious, but says there are problems when the buses are running late. "As soon as a kid gets in - whether the kid [is] seated or not - they leave," Dande says.


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