The bipartisan Miranda Vargas School Bus Driver Red Flag Act – or Miranda’s Law – has been formally introduced in the House of Representatives and is cosponsored by Congressmembers Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Tom Reed (NY-23), Steve Cohen (TN-9), Dan Kildee (MI-5), Elijah Cummings (MD-7), Albio Sires (NJ-8), and Thomas Suozzi (NY-3).
Miranda’s Law is named to commemorate one of the victims of the horrific bus crash that occurred in Paramus, NJ, last year. The driver of the bus was found to have had more than 14 license suspensions at the time of the crash.
Miranda’s Law ensures real-time background checks, so that when a school bus driver has any driving infraction beyond a parking ticket, the school or school bus company will receive an alert about that infraction from the Department of Transportation within 24 hours.
“We must strengthen background checks on school bus drivers to protect our children from those, like the driver who drove Miranda’s bus, who have no place getting behind the wheel,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “We are here to help turn tragedy into hope for other children and families. I’m glad that Miranda’s father, Joevanny, will be joining me in Washington this Spring to tell his story to Members of Congress on why our communities so desperately need this school bus safety legislation. Miranda’s Law will help save lives and there’s nothing partisan about that.”
“No parent should have to worry about their child’s safety when they drop them off at the school bus stop,” said Congresswoman Stefanik (NY-21). “I am proud to stand firmly with the family of Miranda Vargas in believing there should be a zero-tolerance policy for school bus drivers’ driving infractions. These drivers do important work and are responsible for so many lives – we must make absolutely sure that we have the best drivers on the roads transferring our kids to and from school. I’m proud to cosponsor this bipartisan bill that will save lives and put parents’ minds at ease.”
“Only drivers with impeccable records should be allowed to drive school buses. This bill ensures that employers would know immediately if their drivers with commercial driver licenses have driving-related citations and it will improve safety for all students on school buses,” said Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9).
“Keeping our children safe must be one of our top priorities. School bus drivers are trusted with the lives of our children and we have to make absolutely sure that the drivers are qualified. By running background checks on school bus drivers and maintaining high safety standards for operators, we can make sure that students are safe on their way to school and in coming home,” said Congressman Albio Sires (NJ-8).
“We care about ensuring our kids are safe from the moment they get on the school bus in the morning to the moment they arrive at home,” Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23) said. “Not only is it common sense to shed sunshine on the driving records of school bus drivers, it is the fair thing to do for the parents of millions of school age children who worry daily about their child’s safety.”
“There are few things more important than ensuring that our school children make it to and from school each day safely. Requiring bus drivers to have a background check should be standard procedure before we entrust drivers with our children. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill to keep our kids safe,” said Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-5).
“When students board a school bus, there should be no doubt that their driver is qualified and safe. Poor oversight of unfit drivers has been a factor in several fatal school bus crashes, including in Baltimore, Maryland,” said Congressman Elijah E. Cummings. “I am proud to stand with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce legislation to ensure that within 24 hours, driving infractions are reported so that we can keep unsafe drivers from getting behind the wheel of a school bus.”
Read an overview of the legislation here.