TRENTON – Reinforcing the importance of the state’s stringent school bus inspection program, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez today announced the availability of a tool that allows parents to check the safety records of their child’s school bus from the comfort of their own home. The newly-enhanced School Bus Report Card is available 24-hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week at njmvc.gov.
“The MVC is serious when it comes to the safety of school buses, so we are very proud of the enhancements we have made to our School Bus Report Card,” Martinez said.
Twice a year, the MVC inspects all New Jersey-registered school vehicles utilizing a stringent 180-point checklist that ensures that only the safest vehicles are permitted to transport students. The inspection results are then entered into the MVC’s online report card for parents or guardians to view.
In addition to improved search functions, the enhanced School Bus Report Card calculates and supplies the percentage of buses within a particular school yard or bus company that were either initially approved or put out of service. The report also details the following:
- The reason for a bus’ failure
- If the bus is pending for re-exam
- When that re-exam occurred or will occur
- Subsequent exam results
“We want parents to feel comfortable that the vehicle used to transport their child each school day is safe and ready to go,” said Martinez.
Also available online is the MVC’s School Bus Safety Activity and Coloring Book. The book, which may be downloaded, is designed to teach youngsters what they need to know about how to safely ride a school bus.
At approximately 1,300 locations statewide, 24,000 school vehicles, including school buses, small school vehicles, dual-purpose vehicles and summer camp vehicles, are subject to scheduled inspections every six months by the MVC. Access to vehicle fleet locations for on-site inspections, which is provided under the School Bus Enhanced Safety Inspection Act, allows for better monitoring of carrier operations and maintenance procedures, interaction with mechanics and operational staff, access to inspection and repair records and the ability to ensure more timely inspection of vehicles.
Each year, the biannual inspections result in approximately 47.17 percent of school vehicles being temporarily placed out-of service and 12 percent are issued 30-day rejection stickers. Violations can range from serious issues, such as brake and steering system problems, to minor defects affecting interior dome and step lighting. Most times, the violations issued are addressed and re-inspected during the same visit. Once the MVC has re-inspected the vehicles, approximately 95 percent are deemed safe for the road.
“As with the inspection of any school vehicle that transports children, MVC inspectors are meticulous in their efforts to detect major and minor defects,” said Martinez. “It is this dedication to school bus safety that demonstrates to the citizens of New Jersey that we are providing a true benefit.”
In addition to scheduled inspections, the School Bus Inspection Unit also performs monthly, unannounced inspections with the New Jersey State Police as part of the New Jersey School Bus Task Force. These inspections are performed to ensure that bus companies and school districts are keeping accurate records and completing regular maintenance on their buses in the months between the MVC’s visits.
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