SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — As many students across the state prepare to head back to class in the next two weeks, the Missouri State Highway Patrol wants to make sure they’re getting there safely.
Jospeh Eldred, MVI Supervisor, Troop D, Missouri State Highway Patrol, said, “Theres a wide variety of defects that we look for and they’re broken down into several categories like we’re looking for air pollution, brakes, emergency doors and exits.”
While many local school districts fared well on school bus inspections–some have some things to fix.
“There are some schools out there that do great every year. There’s some schools that are not so great every year.”
More than half of the bus fleets inspected by Troop D, earned high marks, like Carl Junction–who earned a 98%– and Joplin Public Schools earned a 93.7% approval rating.
Jared Richmond, Director Of Transportation, Carl Junction School District, said, “I think it’s harder the more buses you have. If you just have a few buses you’re able to stay on top of them a lot easier than having 50 buses.”
Michael Bevis, Transportation Director, Joplin Schools, said, “It’s exactly what we want. We want to be the best, but most of all we want to be the safest and it’s our future we’re talking about and our kids and so safety is our number 1 goal always.”
258 Missouri school districts were awarded the patrol’s total excellence award.
That means the award winning fleets will be eligible to place the excellence sticker on the lower corner of the front passenger side window of the bus.
“It’s a never ending battle, but we’re excited that we’re ready to go and we’ve actually spent the down time working going through the buses constantly to make sure that they’re as good as they can be,” said Richmond.
But 7 school districts earned what could be considered a D average, with 25% or more of their buses ruled “defective” or “out of service”
“Low and behold you may hit a pothole or something and a light bulb goes out cause they got just some funny little connections,” said Bevis.
Those buses rated defective must be repaired within 10 working days and those marked the out-of-service must correct those components before further use.
If you like to see how your child’s school district did on the inspection, the report can be seen below.