RELEASE: Gottheimer Introduces Miranda’s Law, Honoring Paramus Bus Crash Anniversary With National Seat Belt & School Bus Safety Legislation

May 17, 2022
Press

Lap-and-Shoulder Three Point Seat Belts on All School Buses

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, May 17, 2022, on the fourth anniversary of the tragic Paramus school bus crash, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced that he will be introducing Miranda’s Law — bus safety legislation named after Miranda Vargas, a 10-year-old Fifth Grader who lost her life in the crash — to protect children on America’s school buses.

Miranda’s Law will:

  • Require seat belts on all school buses nationwide;
  • Establish three-point lap-and-shoulder seat belts as the national standard; and, 
  • Encourage innovative measures to ensure students actually wear their seat belts while on school buses.

“I’m continuing to work to turn tragedy into hope for other children and families. With Miranda’s Law, we can help ensure that every child in America will be as safe as possible aboard a school bus, and we’re giving parents and families more peace of mind,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Miranda’s Law will help save lives, and there’s nothing partisan about that.”

“This is not a New Jersey problem. This is a national problem that needs to be addressed before we’re confronted with another tragedy,” Miranda’s father Joevanny Vargas has said“This is common sense legislation – it’s not about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about moms and dads.”

Companion legislation has previously been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Last Congress, Joevanny Vargas, the father of 10-year-old Miranda Vargas who was killed in the Paramus bus crash, as well as Miranda’s twin sister Madison Vargas and Miranda’s grandfather Johnny, visited Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers, alongside Gottheimer, to gather support for bipartisan school bus safety legislation.

Last year, the House of Representatives passed school bus safety provisions based on Gottheimer’s bipartisan legislation within a larger surface transportation package. The provisions would require the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to study the benefits of three-point seatbelts on school buses, determine if they are safer, and to determine whether to issue new regulations requiring seat belts on school buses nationwide. The larger package will not be moving forward in the Senate, so Gottheimer is continuing his fight for standalone school bus seat belt safety legislation. 

Find draft text of Gottheimer’s legislation here.

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