West New York Bus Crash Leads to Call For Stronger Measures [AUDIO]
State and federal lawmakers are vowing to increase oversight of independent bus and van companies following last week's fatal accident involving a jitney driver in West New York.
The driver, 48-year-old Idowu Daramola, was talking on his cell phone when he smashed into a light pole that toppled onto a baby stroller, killing 8-month-old Angelie Paredes.
"These buses are becoming more and more frequent. I think we have to coordinate between the federal government, the State, and the Counties to make sure they carry the necessary safety seals, and that the drivers are trained," said Rep. Albio Sires, a former mayor of West New York.
New Jersey Assemblyman Vincent Prieto said too many of these buses and vans are not following safety guidelines the way they should. "We need a uniform transportation code, meaning to see how we regulate these different entities, to make sure that the proper individuals are driving these vehicles, and that we're monitoring them."
New Jersey Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez agreed, but she also stressed the public can help keep an eye on the drivers.
"We have to be vigilant that they are doing the right thing, that they're not being irresponsible. That they are not on their cell phones. Members of the public can assist in this."
"The company that hires these people, in their training, they should tell them look, if we catch you driving and on the phone, you're fired," said Sires.
Sires said he plans to contact the federal Division of Motor Carrier Safety and ask them to investigate all independent bus and van companies, to make sure drivers are properly licensed and trained, and all safety regulations are being followed.
Daramola is facing charges of death by auto, reckless driving and using a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle.