SENATE, No. 618

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  STEPHEN M. SWEENEY

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

Senator  DIANE B. ALLEN

District 7 (Burlington)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Greenstein and Ruiz

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires school buses transporting certain disabled persons to use flashing lights and establishes penalties for drivers who fail to yield.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning operation of school buses when transporting certain disabled persons and amending P.L.1965, c.119 and P.L.1942, c. 192.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 1 of P.L.1965, c.119 (C.39:3B-1) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    Every bus when being used to transport children to and from school pursuant  to [sections 18:14-8 to 18:14-12, inclusive, of the Revised Statutes] chapter 39 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes shall be equipped with electric identification and warning lamps which, when such bus  has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school child, will exhibit a flashing red light plainly visible at such a distance as will enable the driver of a vehicle approaching or overtaking the bus to see the red light in sufficient time to bring the same to a stop within 10 feet of the bus. Such lamps shall meet the requirements prescribed by the [State Board of Education] Motor Vehicle Commission, which requirements shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this Title or any rule or regulation made pursuant thereto.

     If a bus is equipped with electric identification and warning lamps that are required under this section and is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging a person who has a developmental disability, the driver of the bus shall activate the flashing lights and any other equipment, including a crossing control arm, installed on the bus for the safety of passengers.

     Nothing contained herein shall be construed to apply to any motorbus when carrying passengers for hire over any street or road and accepting and discharging indiscriminately such persons as may offer themselves for transportation either at the termini or points along the route on which it is being operated.

(cf: P.L.1965, c.119, s.1)

 

     2.    Section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    On highways having roadways not divided by safety islands or physical traffic separation installations, the driver of a vehicle approaching or overtaking a bus, which is being used [solely] for the transportation of children to or from school or a summer day camp or any school connected activity, or which is being used for the transportation of a person who has a developmental disability, and which has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any child or a person who has a developmental disability, shall stop such vehicle not less than 25 feet from such school bus and keep such vehicle stationary until such child or person who has a developmental disability has entered said bus or has alighted and reached the side of such highway and until a flashing red light is no longer exhibited by the bus; provided, such bus is designated as a school bus by one sign on the front and one sign on the rear, with each letter on such signs at least four inches in height.

     On highways having dual or multiple roadways separated by safety islands or physical traffic separation installations, the driver of a vehicle overtaking a school bus, which has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any child or any person who has a developmental disability, shall stop such vehicle not less than 25 feet from such school bus and keep such vehicle stationary until such child or person who has a developmental disability has entered said bus or has alighted and reached the side of the highway and until a flashing red light is no longer exhibited by the bus.

     On highways having dual or multiple roadways separated by safety islands or physical traffic separation installations, the driver of a vehicle on another roadway approaching a school bus, which has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any child, or any person who has a developmental disability shall reduce the speed of his vehicle to not more than 10 miles per hour and shall not resume normal speed until the vehicle has passed the bus and has passed any child who may have alighted therefrom or be about to enter said bus.

     For purposes of this section, "highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way whether publicly or privately maintained when any part thereof is open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

     Whenever a school bus is parked at the curb for the purpose of receiving children directly from a school or a summer day camp or any school connected activity or discharging children to enter a school, or a summer day camp or any school connected activity, which is located on the same side of the street as that on which the bus is parked, drivers of vehicles shall be permitted to pass said bus without stopping, but at a speed not in excess of 10 miles per hour.

     Whenever a school bus is parked at the curb for the purpose of receiving or discharging a person who has a developmental disability on the same side of the street as that on which the bus is parked, drivers of vehicles shall be permitted to pass the bus without stopping, but at a speed not in excess of 10 miles per hour.

     The driver of a bus which is being used [solely] for the transportation of children to or from school or a summer day camp or any school connected activity, or for the transportation of a person who has a developmental disability shall continue to exhibit a flashing red light and shall not start his bus until every child who may have alighted therefrom shall have reached a place of safety.

     Any person who shall violate any provision of this act shall be subject to (1) a fine of not less than $100.00, (2) imprisonment for not more than 15 days or community service for 15 days in such form and on such terms as the court shall deem appropriate, (3) or both for the first offense, and a fine not less than $250.00, imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both for each subsequent offense.  The penalties shall be enforced and recovered pursuant to the provisions of chapter 5 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes.  There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the registered owner of the vehicle which was involved in the violation of this section was the person who committed the act. Any person who suppresses, by way of concealment or destruction, any evidence of a violation of this section or who suppresses the identity of the violator shall be subject to a fine of $100.

     The [Director of the Division of] Chief Administrator of the  Motor [Vehicles] Vehicle Commission may also revoke the license to drive a motor vehicle of any person who shall have been guilty of such willful violation of any of the provisions of this act as shall, in the discretion of the [director] chief administrator, justify such revocation, but the  [director] chief administrator shall, at all times, have power to validate such a license which has been revoked, or to grant a new license to any person whose license to drive a motor vehicle shall have been revoked pursuant to this act.

(cf: P.L.2000, c.85, s.2)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     Under current law, school buses are required to exhibit flashing red lights when the bus has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school child.  Drivers of vehicles approaching or overtaking the school bus are required to stop at least 25 feet from a school bus that has activated its flashing lights.  The law provides further that the driver of the school bus is not permitted to start the bus or discontinue the flashing red lights until every child who may have alighted from the bus has reached a place of safety.  This bill would ensure that these provisions of law would also apply when the school bus is being used to transport persons who have developmental disabilities.

     The bill also includes a provision that would permit a driver of a vehicle to pass a school bus carrying a person with a developmental disability at a speed of no more than 10 miles per hour, if the bus is parked at the curb for the purpose of receiving or discharging the person on the same side of the street as that on which the bus is parked.  This provision is similar to one applicable in the case of a parked school bus receiving or discharging students.

     Drivers who pass a school bus transporting persons with developmental disabilities in a manner that violates the law will be subject to the same penalties that apply currently to drivers passing school buses transporting students to and from school.  Those penalties are as follows: (1) a fine of not less than $100, (2) imprisonment for not more than 15 days or community service for 15 days in such form and on such terms as the court shall deem appropriate, (3) or both for the first offense, and a fine not less than $250, imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both for each subsequent offense.