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How Safe Are Brick's School Buses?

State database now chronicles school bus safety records

School buses are inspected twice each year and must pass muster with the state Motor Vehicle Commission before your children can board them on their way to school.

But sometimes, a bus won't make the grade.

A check of state records shows Brick's fleet of school buses beat the statewide average in terms of the number of buses temporarily taken out of service.

Each year, the state's biannual, 180-point inspections result in approximately 47 percent of school vehicles being temporarily placed out-of service, with 12 percent being 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, state officials say.

In most cases, the violations issued are addressed and re-inspected during the same visit, the MVC said.

Brick's 187 school buses had an initial inspection out-of-service failure rate of 39 percent, 8 percent better than the New Jersey average.

The records show that 11 school buses were issued 30-day rejection stickers. The majority of these violations were for minor issues such as inoperable windshield washer jets. One of the buses was issued a rejection because the driver's heater fan only worked on one speed.

Buses taken out of service had problems that ranged from a fluid leak, to faulty reverse lights, to a seat determined to be in a poor condition. Another bus had an oil leak. Several had brake warning lights on and others had tire pressure issues.

The buses were inspected in late August, and several have been re-examined and deemed safe, while others have re-exams pending.

Information on school bus safety has always been part of the public record, however obtaining such information usually involved filing a formal request under the state's Open Public Records Act, waiting for the data to be compiled, then picking up the information on one's own time.

But last week, that all changed when the MVC decided to make school bus safety information readily available on the web for all to easily see. Parents can even search for their child's specific bus by typing in the bus's license plate number and searching.

"We want parents to feel comfortable that the vehicle used to transport their child each school day is safe and ready to go," said MVC Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez, in a statement announcing the new database.

Parents who want to access the database can do so by visiting this web page.

clamdigger October 16, 2012 at 10:02 AM
@ Judi; really? there doesn't really seem to be anything that says the buses are rolling death traps. sounds like a lot of things that need to be reported because the problems are on someones standardized punch list.
kimbo October 16, 2012 at 03:44 PM
very sad that you all have let the negative things in this world make you all so afraid & now you're putting that on your children. I hear what you all are saying about things that have happened to children ( that stuff has always happened) we were just not informed of it because the media didn't what hystic parents afraid of letting your kids walk to school. Both of my parents worked so we didn't have a choice of our parents driving us in we had to walk. I grew up walking to school, it was threw a industrial park over railroad tracks, & crossing 2 major highways ( that was the short cut) most of the time with a group of friends & to honesty some of the greatest bonding conversations happened then( you remember when children & teens actually had conversations with other?) & NOT their faces buried in a phone. I too am a victim of abuse ( by someone that I knew) NOT from the strange guy sitting in the park that I had to walk thru to get to school ... There is nothing wrong with allowing your kids to walk to school if you trust your children have enough street smarts ( sadly most children do not anymore bcz they lack that being taught from their parents)You should allow them to leave the bubble you have created around them. & I guess if you think Brick is a ghetto you wouldn't be able TO teach your children how to have any street smarts or skills. There REALLY is a world outside of Brick ...
kimbo October 16, 2012 at 03:47 PM
& BTW to answer the how safe the buses are, ask the drivers...when no one is around, they will give you a honest answer
gran10 October 16, 2012 at 04:30 PM
agree.... I grew up walking to school in Jersey city, as Did my children did starting from kindergarten, we then moved soon after that, to a rural area of morris cnty. While they did have buses, I lived just about 1/2 a mile from the school & they didn't ALLOW me to let them walk to school... they enjoyed the walk in the morning, it helped wake them up, & they got a little exercise in the morning... If you teach your children & this is what they know, its what they are use to ... Its the people that have never been out of there suburb world that are young parents now, that don't understand what they have never experienced,
Joe P October 19, 2012 at 04:00 PM
The double dippers are draining our system, taking resources away from necessary services, and adding to our tax burdens!

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