TRENTON - New Jersey school bus drivers who leave a student on a bus at the end of a route will be suspended and face the revocation of their license under legislation signed by acting Gov. Richard J. Codey.
It was one of several bills that Codey signed Friday in an attempt to protect schoolchildren.
Under the bus law, a first offense will result in a six-month license suspension, and a second offense will result in a permanent revocation.
A driver found guilty of gross negligence resulting in injury to a student left on a bus also will face permanent license revocation.
State Sen. Fred Madden, a sponsor of the bill, has noted that two children were recently found wandering around after being left on school buses in Glassboro and Vineland.
"In essence, this bill would legislate responsibility to negligent bus drivers," Madden (D., Gloucester) said. "A bill like this shouldn't be necessary, but clearly it is."
Codey also signed a law to authorize fines for drivers who fail to obey a crossing guard's signal. The fines would be $150 for a first offense and $300 for subsequent offenses.
Another law signed by Codey authorizes schools and other educational facilities that serve children to do criminal background checks on volunteers.
The law allows school boards to decide whether they want to check the criminal histories of district volunteers. It applies to all schools and programs operated under the supervision of the state Department of Education or a local board of education. Each background check costs $85.
"With all that we hear in the news, with child molesters and others who mean harm toward children working in different child-serving groups, we can't be too careful when interviewing volunteers," said bill sponsor Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D., Hudson).