Acting Governor Kim Guadagno has recognized the passing of Abigail’s Law, in South Plainfield.
The new law will require that all subsequently manufactured school buses in New Jersey must be equipped with front and rear motion sensors to determine the presence of persons or objects passing in front of or behind a bus.
(Assembly Education Committee Chairman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. (D-Middlesex) and Assembly Women and Children Committee Vice-Chairwoman Gabriela M. Mosquera (D-Gloucester) discuss their legislation to establish new standards to improve school bus safety in New Jersey. Courtesy of New Jersey Assembly Democrats and YouTube)
The legislation is named in honor of Abigail Kuberiet, a two-year-old child who tragically lost her life in 2003 standing in front of a stopped school bus in South Plainfield.
The bus operator was unable to see the child from the driver’s seat.
According to the National Coalition for School Bus Safety, children are more likely to be killed as pedestrians outside a school bus, and most often by their own school bus.
The majority of these accidents involve very young children.
“We wish that this tragedy had never happened, but we can be comforted knowing that we have taken steps to ensure that what happened to Abigail never happens to another child here in New Jersey,” said Acting Governor Guadagno.
“As a result of this law, all newly manufactured school buses will have both frontal and rear motion sensors enabling drivers to operate buses more safely for our children in the future.”
The Acting Governor was joined by the bill’s prime sponsor, Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, and Abigail’s father, Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet.
During the ceremony, she provided Mr. Kubereit with a certified copy of the bill.
“Regardless of how much we teach our children the importance of school bus safety, tragedies can happen in just the blink of an eye,” said Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan.
“From a great and inconceivable misfortune, we finally have a simple, life-saving technology that can help protect students, drivers and pedestrians and prevent another New Jersey family from losing a child.”
“I am appreciative of the Acting Governor for her visit and words of comfort that may help assuage the continued bereavement of the Kuberiet family and by the passage of Abigail’s Law leave them with only the cherished memory of their angel Abigail.”
Abigail’s father expressed hope.
“Today is a very, very bittersweet day. Bitter to the extent that we are here in light of a tragedy but it is a sweet day to recognize that hopefully through this legislation a child will be saved in Abigail’s memory. That is very, very important,” he said.
An attempt to pass a similar bill occurred closer to the accident, but the appropriate technology was not available until recently.