After Baby in Stroller Dies, New Jersey Lawmakers Hold Hearings on Jitney Safety
Following the death of eight-month-old Angelie Paredes in her stroller, the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee held a hearing about the operation, regulation, and safety of jitneys. Angelie was killed when she was struck by a light pole that fell after a commuter bus collided with it.
The panel heard testimony from drivers and regulators of jitneys, buses, and limousines, who said that the public is being endangered by poorly enforced regulations and fierce competition between drivers.
Drivers commonly pay $110 to rent their buses for the day, then pocket the cash they collect from passengers. Thus, they have an incentive to drive quickly and take as many passengers as possible.
New Jersey Assembly members Angelica Jimenez, Charles Mainor, and Vincent Prieto have introduced legislation intended to improve safety via imposing stricter licensing rules and requiring higher levels of insurance coverage.
Jitney buses can carry more than 20 passengers but are only required to carry $35,000 to $100,000 in insurance.In contrast, drivers of limousines with up to 13 passenger seats must carry $1.5 million in insurance.Regular buses that carry 20 or more passengers must carry $5 million in insurance.
Angelie’s parents listened to the testimony but declined to comment.
The proposed “Angelie’s Law” would:
- increase the amount of insurance that must be carried by jitney buses;
- force jitney buses to register with the municipalities where they operate;and
- require jitney drivers to have a valid commercial driver’s license.
Authorities say that the driver of the van who caused the accident that killed Angelie in West New York, New Jersey was using his cell phone at the time. After his van struck the utility pole, he went on to hit a tree, another lamp post, and a parked car, causing a chain reaction that injured several other people.He faces up to ten years in prison.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a jitney, bus, limousine, or any other vehicle, contact an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C.