Although it’s the last day of school for Columbia students, safety is in the spotlight. The latest school bus inspections by the Missouri State Highway Patrol show nearly 20 percent of buses in Missouri are not safe.
Troopers inspected nearly 12,000 buses across the state. Of those, 405 buses failed inspections and 42 of those are in Mid-Missouri.
However, Jefferson City Public School District was one of 258 school districts to receive the Total Fleet Excellence Award. Districts have to earn at least a 90 percent approval rating without having any of its buses failing the inspection.
This year’s results show a great improvement for the Jefferson City School District compared to last year where two of its buses failed inspection. This year, 61 of 67 buses passed inspection and the six other buses fell into the “defective” category.
“The buses that were defective or had a defect were a cosmetic, if you will, issue such as a cracked tail light or something to do with the exhaust,” said Amy Berendzen with Jefferson City Public Schools. “It wasn’t something that was a major mechanical issue that could’ve put students in danger.”
Those buses that pose a danger fail the inspection and are pulled off the streets. They must be repaired and inspected again before shuttling students to and from school. Jefferson City did not have any buses that failed.
However, it wasn’t the same story for the Columbia Public School District. It had 169 of 212 buses pass inspection, but eight failed.
ABC 17 left messages for the Columbia Public School District, but they were not returned. We wanted to ask officials about the failed inspections as well as the district’s 35 other defective buses.
A bus barn manager said bad brakes and tires, exhaust problems and even signaling defects will cause a bus to fail an inspection.
For Berendzen, also a parent in Jefferson City, receiving the award helps ease her concerns.
“…and piece of mind that when I put my kiddo on that bus, I know he’s going to be okay,” Berendzen said.
Eighteen other school districts in Mid-Missouri had at least one bus fail the inspection, but 21 others received the Total Fleet Excellence Award.
To find out where your student’s school district ranks, follow this: School Bus Inspection.