The law is designed to regulate the autobuses that are common throughout Hudson County. Previously operating with limited oversight, the autobuses or “jitneys” will face stiffer requirements and increased penalties and fines for violations.
“Angelie’s Law” establishes a passenger bill of rights, creates a telephone complaint line, provides guidelines for violations to be investigated by the state Attorney General and several other reforms designed to increase public safety. It specifically bars drivers from several unsafe practices including using a cell phone while behind the wheel.
Eight-month-old Angelie was in her stroller on July 30 when a jitney jumped a curb on Boulevard East and struck a lamppost that toppled on her. The driver was allegedly using a cell phone at the time. Since then Angelie’s parents have advocated for regulations on the autobus operators to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen to others.
“It’s so sad that it took the death of a young, young girl to make people wake up and see how bad the situation has become,” said North Bergen Mayor and New Jersey State Senator Nicholas Sacco.
“This new legislation will help make sure that other children are protected in a way that this child was not,” said State Senator Sandra Cunningham, who cosponsored the bill with Sacco.
Other speakers at the commemoration ceremony included Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Weekawken Mayor Richard Turner, Guttenberg Mayor Gerald Drasheff, and West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque. --Art Schwartz