Just under 90 percent of all school buses in Missouri passed the Highway Patrol's inspections with no defects found, Patrol Supt. Eric T. Olsen reported last week. Olsen said patrol officials inspected 11,958 school buses and passed 10,672 of them, or 89.3 percent. Maybe that other 10.7 percent could take a lesson from the Gasconade County R-1 School District’s bus garage maintenance schedule.

“As a district, safety is always a top priority,” says Supt. Dr. Scott Smith. “The dedication to safety is evident in how well our bus fleet consistently scores on the state bus inspections every spring.”

That score is typically a passing grade of 100 percent and this year is no different, having achieved that score with 18 buses presented. Dr. Smith says these inspections are very comprehensive, with all the components of the bus being evaluated.

“Although these inspections occur on one particular day, it’s an ongoing process to assure school buses are always in the best condition possible,” he said. “To achieve 100 percent, it takes a dedicated staff to ensure the fleet is well-maintained and in proper condition. Therefore, our transportation department staff is to be commended for the work they do on a daily basis to keep our buses in great condition.”

The annual spring inspection is not the only one during the school year. There are surprise inspections throughout the year conducted by the Mo. State Highway Patrol (MSHP). Dr. Smith says the District passes these consistently and that’s saying something for a bus fleet that puts over 1,200 miles per day on the bus odometers, five days a week, picking up and dropping off kids throughout northern Gasconade County.

“We’re on a lot of back roads and country roads, which can be hard on the buses,” said the superintendent.

He says it doesn’t take much to make a bus “defective.”

“It can be the simplest thing, such as a hole in the seat.”

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