School bus inspections come in time for winter weather
COLUMBIA - The second annual school bus inspections are scheduled to take place next month.
The inspections are performed in order to make sure all equipment, seen and unseen, is in proper working condition, and to ensure the safety of all school children. Sergeant Paul Reinsch, the Troop F public information officer, said the inspectors look for anything that will keep children and others safe on the road.
"The main things they look for are maybe bad tires, brakes that are not working correctly, lights that may be malfunctioning, anything that keeps them safe out on the highway," Reinsch said.
By law, all school busses are required to undergo inspection twice a year. The first inspection happens up to 60 days before the start of the school year, and the second inspections begin in February. The second inspections are done by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Motor Vehicle Inspection division, which conducts inspections of 11,977 school busses.
Under the rules, there are three categories a bus can be place in: approved, rejected or placed out of service. According to Reinsch, of the buses inspected, most are good to get back on the road.
"About 85 percent of those vehicles inspected in 2014 were approved, so they are ready to go back on the highway," Reinsch said. "Around 12 percent of those were rejected, and they have 10 days to get that fixed, and then an inspector comes back out to approve those changes. And then about four percent were totally rejected, and they need to be repaired, and then an inspector comes out and approves it as well."
Being totally rejected means the bus is no longer allowed to transport students until the bus passes the inspection at a higher level.
Although there are only two required inspections by law, any school bus may be subject to a spot inspection at any time to make sure equipment is maintained throughout the year.
According to Reinsch, although the second inspections occur during the winter season, the harsh weather conditions aren't the only concern.
"Very soon it's going to be getting warmer, kids are getting excited about getting home," Reinsch said. "The days are getting longer. They can play outside, so they may not be thinking real clearly when they're jumping off that bus, and they may react in a way that maybe the driver doesn't expect. So pay attention and be cautious of those children that are out there."