TRENTON, N.J. – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Rob Clifton ensuring the safety of bus passengers with disabilities was approved today by the Assembly Transportation Committee.
The bill (A1777) requires omnibus drivers to inspect their vehicles at the end of their route to make sure no disabled riders are left on board.
“It’s a shame we have to legislate common sense,” said Clifton (R-Monmouth). “Every bus driver should always inspect their vehicle at the end of their shift to make sure no has been left behind, especially people with disabilities who aren’t always capable of communicating.”
The measure is in response to an incident a few years ago in which a bus driver left a special needs man on a bus for more than two hours. The 52-year-old man boarded the bus from his group home in Tinton Falls to go to his job at the Arc of Monmouth County in Long Branch. When the bus hadn’t returned by 4 p.m. officials at the group home called police. The man, who has difficulty speaking, was found after two-and-a-half hours alone inside the bus. The driver was immediately suspended without pay.
“What happened to this gentleman is inexcusable,” concluded Clifton. “Bus drivers who don’t take their responsibilities seriously need to be held accountable.”