Audit Critical of Missouri Highway Patrol
JEFFERSON CITY - State Auditor Tom Schweich released an audit giving the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) a fair rating Tuesday.
The audit contained two major concerns, and one concerned bus inspections. The audit stated the MHSP "does not have procedures to periodically observe school bus inspections performed by the MSHP and state inspections."
The audit noted that 25 percent of buses undergoing spot inspections failed, and "nearly five percent had significant defects." Captain Tim Hull, director of the Public Information Division of the MSHP, said the organization already been making recommended changes.
The MSHP said the state investigation into bus inspections took place because of a 2010 investigation of the organization by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) centering around a collision of two school buses. Although the cause of the crash was determined to be driver distraction and inattention, the NTSB study cited "inadequate state school bus inspection regulations."
Captain Tim Hull, director of the Public Information Division of the MSHP, said the organization already been making recommended changes since the 2011, and this audit is nothing new.
Hull said MHSP now performs spot checks of state buses than in 2011, in addition to the one annual mandatory MHSP check. The buses also must be inspected by another certified mechanic once a year.
"Buses are inspected at least twice a year, sometimes three or four times a year, so they're one of the safest modes of transportation we have," Hull said.
Hull said the MHSP created a program to give private sector mechanics specific training for bus inspection after the 2010 crash.
The other main concern, and reason for Schweich's audit, was the MHSP purchased a $5.6 million airplane that Schweich said only Gov. Jay Nixon has used. Schweich said the state already had 5 passenger vehicles for use by government employees, and there was never a day when all five were in use.