School bus

Almost 12,000 school buses across the state of Missouri were inspected by Missouri State Highway Patrol personnel during the Driver & Vehicle Safety Division’s 2019 annual school bus inspection program.

Of all buses inspected, 89.3% were approved by inspection personnel with no defective items noted.

Smithville School District achieved a 96.3% approval rating. It presented 27 buses for inspection and just one was identified as being defective. In 2018, the district’s fleet received an almost identical rating of 96.2%, with 25 of 26 buses receiving approval.

Kearney School District had a 94.7% approval rating. Thirty-six of the 38 buses it presented were approved. With one bus out of service last year, the district had 35 of 36 buses receive approval.

Liberty School District presented 91 buses for inspection, and 92.3%, or 84 buses, were approved. One bus was out of service. In 2018, 87 of 90 buses received approval, with none out of service.

During the annual inspection, buses found to have no defective items are rated as “approved.” Buses having one or more defective items which do not constitute an immediate danger are rated as “defective.” Buses with a defective item which constitutes an immediate danger are rated as “out-of-service.”

Buses rated as “defective” may continue to be operated for the purpose of transporting students until repair is made. School districts are allowed 10 days following initial inspection to repair identified defects before being re-inspected by Highway Patrol motor vehicle inspection personnel.

Buses rated as “out-of-service” must be repaired, re-inspected, and then placed back into service by Highway Patrol motor vehicle inspection personnel prior to transporting students. Buses not presented for re-inspection within the required 10-day period are reported to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

A total of 261 Missouri school districts earned the Patrol’s Total Fleet Excellence Award, obtaining an approval rating of 90% or higher with no buses placed out of service. During the 2019-2020 school year, 5,540 buses in these award-winning fleets are eligible to display the Total Fleet Excellence sticker in the lower corner of the first window on the passenger-entry side of the bus.

“The Missouri State Highway Patrol works closely with schools and private pupil transportation companies to ensure our students have safe transportation to and from school-related events. This professional relationship is most evident during the annual school bus inspection and results in a successful program,” said Col. Eric T. Olsen, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “The annual school bus inspection program is just one way the Missouri State Highway Patrol serves and protects our children and it will remain a priority.”

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