New Jersey lawmakers have passed a bill that will require that all schools use school parking lots in designated areas.
The legislation is aimed at creating a national database that would allow local governments to monitor where students park and allow them to appeal parking ticket decisions.
It was introduced on Thursday by State Assemblywoman Julie Loesch, a Democrat from Monmouth.
It has bipartisan support.
“The number of students parking in the parking lot has skyrocketed over the last five years,” Loesck said.
“I don’t think anyone can really understand how that can be a safety issue, and it is.”
New Jersey’s Department of Transportation says it’s also considering new legislation that would require all schools to set aside designated parking lots.
The proposal also includes more stringent parking enforcement requirements.
The state would require students to wear helmets while parking and to have a sign on their vehicles that reads “No vehicles parked in designated parking areas” or “No parking on roads, bridges, highways, trails, or public right-of-ways.”
“We need to be more proactive about ensuring the safety of our students,” said Assemblyman Jim Cooper, a Republican from East Brunswick.
The New Jersey Department of Education and its partners are also working on a plan to enforce the new regulations, Cooper said.
But the measure has some critics, who say the rules are too restrictive and would only apply to students who are in school and on school property.
New Jersey has one of the highest rates of school shootings in the country, with at least 17 students shot in the state in the last two years, according to data compiled by the state Department of Public Safety.
It’s unclear how many of those students have actually been in a school parking lot.
The governor’s office said there’s not enough data to determine how many students have used a parking spot.
Last year, a New Jersey judge ruled that the state could not require schools to install metal detectors in the classroom because that would make it easier for criminals to steal weapons.
The new legislation has bipartisan backing in the Legislature, which passed the legislation by a wide margin on Thursday.
The measure comes amid an overall increase in school shootings, which have jumped more than 20 percent in the past five years, a new report by the New Jersey Civil Liberties Union found.
In the state, the number of school-related deaths rose by 1,094 over the same period.