P.O. Box 160
Trenton, NJ
Contact: Mike Horan
Dave Weinstein
RELEASE: September 11, 2006

Back To School: MVC Ensures School Buses Are Ready To Go
Harrington Highlights Safety Inspection Program

(TRENTON) – Sharon A. Harrington, Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), today, turned the public’s back-to-school focus on school bus safety as she and Acting Education Commissioner, Lucille E. Davy, joined MVC’s School Bus Inspection Unit for a scheduled bus fleet inspection in Trenton.  Harrington outlined the specifics of MVC’s School Bus Inspection Program and provided details on what the unit looks for when conducting an inspection.

“We are dedicated to ensuring the safety of both drivers and their vehicles, therefore it is only natural that school buses are included in MVC’s safety efforts,” said Harrington. “When parents wave goodbye to their children as they board the bus each morning, they should feel secure knowing that our inspectors complete a thorough review of each vehicle twice a year.”

MVC’s School Bus Inspection Unit is responsible for inspecting all New Jersey-registered vehicles used for school transportation, including school buses, small school vehicles, dual-purpose vehicles, and summer camp vehicles. MVC inspectors do a variety of safety checks on each vehicle in addition to a review of gas, diesel, emissions, and maintenance records, and daily driver reports. 

“Learning the safe and proper way to ride a school bus is also a critical part of school life for more than half of our school aged children.  I encourage parents to familiarize themselves with their school’s bus safety rules and review them with their children,” said Davy.

Traveling throughout New Jersey, inspection teams visit approximately 1,300 inspection locations comprising more than 22,000 school vehicles, which are inspected semi-annually.  Prior to 1998, all school vehicles were required to visit New Jersey inspection facilities but a change in state law revolutionized the inspection process by permitting MVC to conduct inspections on-site, allowing 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.

MVC’s total yearly inspection counts for the semi-annual process are over 74,000, which include re-inspections. Of those vehicles inspected, 40 percent are placed out-of service, while 30 percent are issued 30-day rejection stickers.  Violations can range from serious issues such as brake and steering system problems to minor items such as interior dome and step lighting. Once MVC has re-inspected the vehicles, approximately 91 percent are deemed safe for road.

In September 2005, MVC, with the support of the New Jersey Office of Information Technology (OIT), rolled out a system that allowed the public to access school bus inspection records. The system offers parents the opportunity to obtain the inspection data for their child’s school bus simply by logging on to the Motor Vehicle Commission’s Web site at www.njmvc.gov.

In addition, 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.