Foster & Mazzie LLC

A school bus incident in Mount Olive Township claims 2 lives

On May 17, the driver of a school bus crashed into a dump truck along Interstate 80 in Mount Olive Township. That incident claimed the lives of a student and a teacher.

Since the incident occurred, crash scene investigators have been working the case. They've found that the 77-year-old bus driver had just had his driver's license reinstated in January of this year.

In digging a bit further, they determined that during the last four decades, the driver of the school bus had apparently had his driver's license suspended some 14 times. His first suspension apparently happened in 1975.

He most recently had his driving privileges suspended in December of 2017. Crash scene investigators determined that all of those suspensions occurred because the man failed to pay his parking tickets and for other administrative reasons.

More alarming is the number of traffic violations on his record. A spokesperson with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) reports that they were able to find at least 16 violations, eight of which involved citations for speeding. Despite having all of these moving violations on his driving record, the man still seemingly qualified to receive a school bus endorsement in 2013.

NJMVC reports that they're not under any obligation to report driver's license suspensions to employers.

Additionally, the superintendent for the Paramus Public School District has issued a statement saying that they were never provided with any information that showed that the bus driver had been cited for moving violations in the past. She notes that the only information that they have on file is that his license was in good standing and that he authorized by the state to drive a school bus.

State driver records show that the man has been involved in at least five car crashes in the state. They don't speak to who was responsible for causing them.

The superintendent with the school district where the man works has called for better screening of school bus drivers as a way to ensure such a tragic incident never happens again.

Each day, hundreds of thousands of children take buses to school without incident. However, if your child has been hurt or killed in one of the few school bus crashes that happen each year, then a Totowa attorney can advise you of your right to file a lawsuit in your case.

Source: CNN, "Driver in fatal school bus crash had multiple traffic violations and license suspensions," Carma Hassan, May 24, 2018

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