Christie Administration Reinforces School Bus Safety At Bus Inspection Demonstration In Fair Lawn
(FAIR LAWN) –New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez was joined today by elected officials and school and transportation leaders at a school bus inspection demonstration in Fair Lawn to reinforce the importance of the state’s stringent school bus inspection program that examines 24,000 student transportation vehicles twice a year.
“The MVC works year-round to ensure that New Jersey's school buses make the grade,” said Chief Martinez, speaking at the Fair Lawn Board of Education Transportation Department. “As we mark the beginning of the school year and parents check off their back-to-school lists, they should be able to entrust their local school districts with safely transporting their children to and from school every day.”
An MVC mobile inspection team was on hand at today's demonstration -- which was a regularly scheduled inspection for the school district -- to demonstrate actual inspections.
With over 180 items regularly checked on each New Jersey-registered school vehicle, the MVC’s School Bus Inspection Unit ensures that only the safest vehicles are permitted to transport students. Additionally, the unit’s teams of inspectors carefully review gas and diesel emissions, as well as maintenance and daily driver reports.
To further provide that peace of mind, the MVC is offering a powerful online tool for parents to use to check the inspection records of their child's school bus. The MVC's enhanced School Bus Report Card is available 24-hours-a-day at www.njmvc.gov.
“A report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reiterated what we already suspected to be the case: students are 50 times more likely to arrive at school safely if they take the bus than if they drive themselves or ride with friends," Martinez noted. “So, the state wants to help parents feel comfortable that the vehicle being used to transport their child each school day is safe and ready to go.”
Also available online is the MVC’s School Bus Safety Activity and Coloring Book. The book, which can be downloaded by teachers and parents alike, is designed to teach youngsters what they need to know about how to act safely on the school bus.
At approximately 1,300 locations statewide, 24,000 school vehicles, including school buses, small school vehicles, dual-purpose vehicles and summer camp vehicles, are subject to scheduled inspections every six months by the MVC. Access to vehicle fleet locations for on-site inspections, which is provided under the School Bus Enhanced Safety Inspection Act, allows for better monitoring of carrier operations and maintenance procedures, interaction with mechanics and operational staff, access to inspection and repair records and the ability to ensure more timely inspection of vehicles.
Each year, the biannual inspections result in approximately 48 percent of school vehicles being temporarily placed out-of service and 13 percent are issued 30-day rejection stickers. Violations can range from serious issues, such as brake and steering system problems, to minor defects affecting interior dome and step lighting. Most times, the violations issued are addressed and re-inspected during the same visit. Once the MVC has re-inspected the vehicles, approximately 95 percent are deemed safe for the road.
“As with the inspection of any school vehicle that transports children, MVC inspectors are meticulous in their efforts to detect major and minor defects,” said Martinez. “It is this dedication to school bus safety that demonstrates to the citizens of New Jersey that we are providing a true benefit.”
In addition to scheduled inspections, the School Bus Inspection Unit also performs monthly, unannounced inspections with the New Jersey State Police as part of the New Jersey School Bus Task Force. These inspections are performed to ensure that bus companies and school districts are keeping accurate records and completing regular maintenance on their buses in the months between the MVC’s visits.