WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — A bipartisan group of lawmakers want to be sure that whoever is driving your kids’ bus doesn’t have an unsafe driving record.
That’s the purpose of the Miranda Vargas School Bus Driver Red Flag law or “Miranda’s Law” named after a New Jersey girl who lost her life in a school bus accident.
Miranda Vargas was only 10 years old when she was killed in a school bus crash. Her father Joevanny Vargas said the bus driver should never have been behind the wheel.
“At the time 77 years old, 14 driving suspensions” Vargas said. “You trust him to drive such delicate cargo?”
Vargas and New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer said it’s their mission to keep unsafe school bus drivers off the road.
“You can have a background check on a Monday, pass it. On Tuesday get a DUI and the only requirement is self reporting,” said Rep. Gotteheimer (D-NJ).
Gottheimer said “Miranda’s Law” would require that school districts and bus companies receive automatic alerts if a bus driver is caught breaking the law. New York Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) is a cosponsor and said the notification would go out within 24 hours of a violations.
“Because of suspension and driving violation, immediately being taken off the road,” said Rep. Reed.
In addition to reporting red flags about bus drivers, lawmakers are pushing for legislation that requires all school buses be equipped with seat belts.
“This is about getting three point seat belts like the ones we have in our cars and trucks. Getting them on to our school buses” said Gottheimer.
Gottheimer said currently only a handful states require lap and shoulder belts. He said the SECURES Act is “commonsense legislation” to make it the law of the land.
Miranda’s twin sister, Madison, encourages Congress to support both bills as a way to keep track of drivers and better protect our precious cargo.
“I just want everyone to come together to make sure no one suffers from a situation like this again,” said Madison Vargas.