Legislation sponsored by Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington/Camden) that extends the service life of certain school buses from 12 to 15 years was recently signed into law. "The 12-year use limit on most school buses is outdated, as advances in the design and construction of school buses now allow for their safe and effective use over a longer period of time," Allen stated. "School districts can still update their buses sooner, if need be, but this law gives them the option to continue using a bus for three additional years if it is safe and meets all of the rigorous safety inspections."
The establishment of a uniform school bus life of 15 years for all new school buses was a recommendation of the Commission on Business Efficiency of the Public Schools, as noted in its February 11, 2006 report, “Finding the Road: Selected Issues in New Jersey Pupil Transportation.” The report states that there is no need to have different service lives for school buses of different gross vehicle weights and that there is a national consensus for a uniform 15-year school bus service life.
"Extending the life of a school bus is a safe, cost-effective way to save taxpayer money given today's difficult economy." Allen concluded. "Resources can now be spent in the classroom, where they belong.”
The law was passed overwhelmingly in the Legislature and received the support of the Department of Education, Motor Vehicle Commission and various Local Boards of Education.