Parents can now check the safety records of their children's school buses online using an improved database of inspection records, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission announced Thursday.
"The MVC is serious when it comes to the safety of school buses," MVC chairman and chief administrator Raymond P. Martinez said in a statement, "so we are very proud of the enhancements we have made to our School Bus Report Card."
The MVC inspects all 24,000 New Jersey-registered school vehicles every six months using a 180-point checklist that results in vehicles either being cleared, issued a 30-day rejection sticker or placed temporarily out-of-service.
Violations, which can range from brake or steering problems to defective dome lighting or lack of fire extinguishers, are typically addressed on the spot.
According to the MVC, 47 percent of school vehicles are temporarily placed out-of-service and 12 percent are issued 30 day rejection stickers following initial inspection. However, after a re-inspection - which typically occurs on the same visit, after any problems discovered have been addressed -- approximately 95 percent of vehicles are deemed safe for the road.
All of the vehicle inspection data, including the reason for a bus' failure, is available for parents to view on the MVC's School Bus Report Card website.
"We want parents to feel comfortable that the vehicle used to transport their child each school day is safe and ready to go," Martinez said.