Missouri State Highway Patrol bus inspection report shows improvement

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JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri State Highway Patrol released its 2017 school bus inspection report earlier this week, showing improvement in two specific areas for the fourth straight year.

Highway patrol reports from 2014 and 2017 have shown a decrease in buses out of service and an increase in buses with approved inspection for the fourth straight year.

The most recent report approved 10,871 Missouri school buses upon initial inspection, a 6.5 percent increase since 2014. The report also ruled 1,176 buses as "defective" or "out-of-service", two labels which collectively decreased by nearly one-third since 2014.

“We’re trying to improve those numbers each and every year,” Lieutenant Paul Reinsch, assistant director of public information for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said. “It’s especially important when we are talking about the safety of our children, and inspecting those school buses every year ensures that they’re being transported to and from school as safely as possible.”

Reinsch said more than 90 percent of inspected school buses in Missouri gained approval without any defects. Districts underwent inspections between February and May.

“Sometimes parents may have a fear of putting a child on a school bus,” Reinsch said. “We’re constantly looking for any way to keep to school buses safe because it is the safest way to travel on land.” 

More than 270 school districts received the Patrol’s Total Fleet Excellence Award. Public school buses within the award-winning districts received at least 90 percent approval ratings with no out-of-service buses reported upon initial inspection.

Columbia Public Schools fell just short of the recognition with two out-of-service buses, but it was one of five Missouri school districts with at least 200 approved buses.

Liz Hervey, a Gentry Middle School teacher, said the bus inspections are important to ensure public transportation safety to school and for after-school activities.

“It’s invaluable, and it’s necessary,” Hervey said. “These kids wouldn’t be able to get to school or be involved in activities without them.” 

Reinsch said another set of school bus inspections will start before public schools resume in August.

“We’re going to continue these school bus inspections throughout the years to ensure that these children can travel to and from home and to and from school as safely as possible,” Reinsch said.

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