Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP), recently announced the Motor Vehicle Inspection Division’s school bus inspection program results. Statewide, a total of 12,023 buses were inspected by MSHP personnel from Feb. 2-April 30. Missouri's 2011 statewide approval rating was 87.7 percent compared to 84.3 percent in 2010.
The inspection results are as follows:
- During the annual school bus inspection program, buses found to be free of defective items are "approved." Upon initial inspection, 10,543 buses received approval.
- Buses with one or more minor defects, yet deemed safe for the transport of students, are identified as "defective," and 1,246 buses were rejected.
- Buses containing one or more major defects, deemed to be unsafe for the transport of students, are identified as "out-of-service" by inspection personnel, and 234 buses were placed out-of-service
The Mehlville School District bus fleet, which is housed at Mehlville High School, consists of 27 microbuses and 71 full-sized general education buses. The fleet received an approval rating of 96.9 percent.
Joe Huster, fleet supervisor, said that there was one fuel leak found on a microbus, otherwise the rating would have been 100 percent.
“It had just been out on the road and it pulled into the lot,” Huster said. “It was just bad luck. We do repairs right on the spot. The bus is tagged 'out-of-service,' and once it is repaired, it gets re-inspected before the Highway Patrol leaves. It was back out on the road the same day.”
Statewide defective buses may continue to be used for pupil transportation until repairs are made. School districts are allowed 10 days following initial inspection in which to repair identified defective item(s) before being re-inspected by inspection personnel.
Out-of-service buses must be repaired, re-inspected by Highway Patrol motor vehicle inspection personnel, and placed back into service prior to being used for student transport.
Even though the Highway Patrol inspects buses twice a year, Huster and his five-man crew treat inspection as a yearlong process.
“Starting as early as January, we go over all of the buses. Each bus is in the shop at least once every three months. We also pick a couple of weekends (prior to the official inspection date) and run everything through the shop,” Huster said.
The self-inspection includes everything from jacking the buses up in the air and checking tires, breaks, emergency hatches and everything else from bumper to bumper.
“We appreciate the good working relationship between the Patrol and Missouri’s school bus companies,” Col. Ron Replogle said in a statement. “Our children deserve safe transportation to and from school every day. Our inspection program helps ensure Missouri has the safest school buses in the nation.”
Mehlville included, a total of 268 Missouri school districts were awarded the distinction of Total Fleet Excellence for approval ratings of 90 percent or higher with no buses placed out-of-service.
During the 2011-2012 school year, each bus within an award-winning fleet may display the Missouri State Highway Patrol Total Fleet Excellence sticker in the lower corner of the first window on the right side of the bus. In addition, each district earning the designation will be presented with an award from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Results of the annual school bus inspection program are a matter of public record. Requests for information pertaining to the 2011 school bus inspection program may be directed to Motor Vehicle Inspection Analyst Brenda Davis, GHQ, at firstname.lastname@example.org.