Gov. Phil Murphy signs safety bills after school bus crash deaths

TRENTON, N.J. -- A school bus crash that left a student and teacher dead this year led New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday to sign into law four new safety bills.

One bill requires school bus drivers to take safety classes twice a year.

The others call for complying with federal safety regulations, requiring school bus drivers over 70 to show proof of physical fitness, and making the state Department of Education notify local authorities when a driver's license is revoked or suspended.

"After the tragic school bus accident in Paramus earlier this year, it became clearer than ever that we must act to protect our children and educators through common sense school bus safety reforms," Murphy, a Democrat, said in a statement.

New Jersey State Police said in an affidavit that the May crash happened when bus driver Hudy Muldrow missed a turn and tried to make an illegal U-turn on a highway. The bus was broadsided by a dump truck and broke apart.

Muldrow, 77, denies he was trying to make an illegal U-turn. Video footage appeared to show him veering across the highway toward the median.

He faces vehicular homicide charges.

Ten-year-old Miranda Vargas and 51-year-old teacher Jennifer Williamson were killed, and more than 40 others were injured, some seriously.

Muldrow had had his license suspended 14 times, most recently last December. Some were for administrative reasons, such as failure to pay parking tickets, but Muldrow also had eight speeding violations between 1975 and 2001, according to state motor vehicle records.

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