A couple of months ago we wrote about how a community in Hudson County, N.J. rallied behind a young couple who lost their eight-month old baby, Angelie Paredes, to the hands of a distracted jitney bus driver yakking away on his cell.
A jitney, or small commuter bus, can circulate in our area unregulated, in lieu of adding extra state operated transit buses, because of the high demand for transportation to/from New York City and neighboring towns. Jitney bus drivers rent from not so reputable companies, by the day, without the need to carry their own insurance or have a commercial driver’s license. They are out to make money and, often, will drive recklessly as they try to outpace NJ Transit or other jitney bus drivers.
While “NJ Transit bus drivers have commercial driver’s licenses, are drug tested and go through background checks, that’s not the case for jitney bus drivers, according to Ray Greaves, a councilman from Bayonne, NJ.
Newspress coverage here.
Assemblyman Vicente Prieto has pledged to pass Angelie’s Law in January once he becomes NJ Assembly speaker. Angelie’s Law would increase the amount of insurance required for jitney buses, force drivers to register with the municipalities in which they operate and require they have valid commercial driver’s licenses.
While we cannot tell other people what to do, we can start with ourselves. Let’s put the cell phone down while driving. It can wait, save a life. Help us honor Angelie’s memory by sharing this article and creating awareness.