The driver in last week’s New Jersey bus crash has been charged with two counts of reckless vehicular homicide/death by auto. A ten-year-old girl and her teacher died.
It appears the driver of the bus was attempting to make a sudden – and illegal – u-turn along Route 80 when the crash occurred. Hit by a dump truck, the force of the impact knocked the bus body off the chassis.
Not many details of the crash have been released, but the driver’s record has.
Driver Hudy Muldrow, Sr, 77, has had sixteen traffic violations, eight of them for speeding. In the last forty years, his license has been suspended 14 times, most recently for unpaid parking tickets, and many times for administrative/paperwork reasons. He has had his school bus endorsement since 2013. Details about whether those incidents involved a commercial vehicle were not released.
Muldrow was arrested one week after the crash.
Paramus Public School District Superintendent Dr Michele Robinson released a statement: “I am shocked, saddened, and angry to read news reports concerning the school bus driver’s driving record. Nothing that was provided to the district by the state reflected that the driver had any moving violations. In fact, all we were told is that he was a driver in good standing and eligible to operate a school bus. If these news reports are true, our community and our children deserved better than to receive incomplete information about his record.”
In Minnesota, any entity hiring school bus drivers is legally responsible to study the driver’s criminal and driving records. Any driver with more than three moving violations within a three year period is ineligible to drive a school bus in the state of Minnesota. The state is required to keep the records, the drivers are required to report their record upon hire and when any additional moving violations occur, and the state is required to monitor the records. Insurance companies also weigh in on driving records. This driver would not have been eligible to drive in Minnesota.
This crash is not about seat belts, and it’s not about driver age. It’s about qualifying the right people to do the job.