Surprise inspection finds 9 school bus drivers with improper licenses
A surprise inspection by state officials found that nine school bus drivers dropping off students with disabilities at a Nutley school either did not have proper driver’s licenses or documentation.
The inspection took place at the Phoenix Center, which is attended by children with autism and other disabilities.
A spokesperson for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission tells News 12 New Jersey that inspectors issued 10 summonses to nine bus drivers. Those drivers did not have the proper permission to drive school buses.
According to the MVC, one of the drivers was on a provisional license, which was issued on March 7. Two drivers had permits to carry passengers but did not have full CDL licenses or an S endorsement, which are needed to drive a school bus. Two drivers had no CDLs at all. One driver had no passenger or S endorsement. Three drivers did not have an S endorsement - with one of those drivers only having a Q endorsement, which only allows them to drive a certain amount of passengers.
The MVC also stated that 11 summonses were issued to eight bus companies, including NNY Transportation Inc., K&H Transport Inc., Smart Union Inc., Jarvis Transportation Inc., Triumph Invalid Coach, Angeline's Transportation Inc., JLL Services LLC, and Kevin Transportation.
Phoenix Center executive director Julie Mower says that the drivers do not work for the school – more than 60 school districts provide transportation for the students to the Phoenix Center.
“We need to ensure that the individuals who are transporting our students, especially some of our most delicate and potentially needy students, are appropriately licensed to do so,” Mower says.
Parent Leo Valleja says that he has started driving his son to and from school after a separate incident with a bus driver caused him concern.
“I don’t trust [any] of these drivers with my son,” he says. “I prefer to pick him up and bring him back to the house.”
About 150 students between the ages of 5 and 21 attend the Phoenix Center.
School officials say that the school did its own popup inspection in November and found that two drivers either did not carry or have the proper commercial driver’s license.